The Boston Celtics are in first place and determined to knock off the Cleveland Cavaliers as kings of the Eastern Conference. The team is playing great with a chemistry that seemed to come together overnight. After signing Gordon Hayward and trading for Kyrie Irving in the off-season the team was upgraded in talent but devoid of depth.
With a growing concern for bench production, the Celtics addressed this somewhat by signing center Greg Monroe after he waived by Phoenix on February 1st. Monroe was averaging 11.3 points per game and 8.0 rebounds for the Suns. It’s a big boost for a team that struggles to score and rebound.
Sunday they came up against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the defending Eastern Conference Champions. The new look Cavs spanked the Celtics 121-99. Terry Rozier scored 21 of Boston’s bench, but the rest of the second unit struggled to score. Monroe played, finishing five points and five rebounds in his third game for Boston.
The Celtics will need another little something off the bench and should try to make another move. They missed out on players like Marco Belinelli, Joe Johnson and Derrick Rose. All were available in trades and all ended up in buyout situations whether they were traded or not.
The NBA’s collective bargaining agreement states a player must be bought out by March 1st in order to be eligible for the playoffs. Without the option of trades, are there any players left?
The Atlanta Hawks’ forward has had a good season, averaging 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. A versatile player who could assimilate into any offense and knock down an open shot. A no trade clause in his contract kept him from getting traded at the deadline. Ilyasova would provide an offensive punch and more rebounding for Boston.
The 41 year old Carter is a shell of his former self, averaging 4.9 and 3.1 rebounds per game. He signed a one year $8 million deal with the Kings this year, but hasn’t really been a part of their game plan. A change of scenery might give Carter the boost he needs to get some semblance of his game back.
Boston tried their hardest to aquire Evans from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline. He’s averaging 19.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. After failing to trade him, the Grizzlies could buyout Evans who signed a one year $3.2 million deal in July. He would provide a huge offensive punch for the Celtics, probably the best move they can make if it presents itself.
Right now the Celtics continue to play top notch defense and stifle their opponents. 12-15 more points off the bench would help the overcome all Eastern Conference contenders. Quite possibly the Western Conference as well.