The Boston Celtics figure to be in the mix to sign some of the best NBA free agents when players can begin talking to teams about potential contracts at midnight Saturday.
The Celtics have been linked with two of the top available free agents in Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, but both players should have plenty of potential suitors. And Boston isn’t able to offer them the most money, either.
Here are five second-tier free agents the Celtics could consider if their top targets sign elsewhere.
Danilo Gallinari, SF, Age 28
2016-17 Stats: 18.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.1 apg
Gallinari is a quality offensive player. He nearly averaged 20 points per game last season, while shooting 39 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the foul line. At 6-foot-10 and 225 pounds, Gallinari is capable of playing small forward or stretching the floor as a versatile power forward.
The Italian forward is injury prone, though, and he’s played more than 63 games in a season only once since 2009-10.
Gallinari wouldn’t be a bad option for the Celtics, as they’ll need additional scoring punch off the bench. But signing him to a contract beyond two years in length would be a pretty large risk.
Dion Waiters, SG, Age 25
2016-17 Stats: 15.3 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.3 rpb
Waiters has yet to live up to the potential he had as the No. 4 overall pick in 2012, but he played a pivotal role in the Heat’s resurgence last season, one that narrowly missed a playoff berth. Waiters nearly set a career-high in scoring last season but only played in 46 games.
If the 6-foot-4 shooting guard consistently can shoot 39.5 percent from 3-point range, as he did in 2016-17, he could prove to be a useful scorer off the bench.
JaMychal Green, PF, Age 27
2016-17 Stats: 8.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 0.4 bpg
Green is an undersized power forward, but he’s very strong and rebounds well. Rebounding was among Boston’s most glaring weaknesses last season, particularly in the playoffs, and Green would address that. He’s also a decent bench scorer.
P.J. Tucker, SF, Age 32
2016-17 Stats: 6.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.2 apg
Tucker was a trade-deadline option for the Celtics last season, but the Toronto Raptors acquired him for a good price. The veteran forward isn’t much of a scorer, but he has lots of experience guarding the best wing players with his size, length, and physical strength. Tucker could potentially guard LeBron James if the Cavs and C’s meet again in the playoffs.
Luc Mbah a Moute, SF, Age 30
2016-17 Stats: 6.1 ppg, 2.1 rpb, 0.4 bpg
Mbah a Moute has 3-point range — he shot a career-high 39 percent from beyond the arc last season — and defends at a high level. Those players always will be in demand, and he’d be a nice addition to the Celtics’ frontcourt if free agents Kelly Olynyk and/or Jonas Jerebko leave this summer.
Thumbnail photo via Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports Images
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