2-time block leader listed as Celtics’ best free agent option


Hassan Whiteside, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics opted to stay loyal on July 18 as they watched their $17.2 million trade exception expire. Of course, the addition of Malcolm Brogon on July 1 helped negate the need to use said exception.

Still, the Celtics continue to have a hole in their central rotation and will need to find a viable player to help shore up that rotation, and with their mammoth trade exception no longer in play, it looks like the team will look to free agency.

Fortunately, there are hard-hitting veterans in the free agent market who could suit the Celtics’ style of play, including Dwight Howard and DeMarcus Cousins ​​- two talented veterans who would likely sign with the Celtics for a chance to compete for a championship. .

However, according to Keith Smith during a recent appearance on the Locked On Celtics podcast, there is another great free agent who would fit Boston’s demands: Hassan Whiteside.

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“I can’t believe I’m kind of at the point where I’m like ‘is Hassan Whiteside really the worst idea? He played really well for Utah, he can defend, he can block shots, you can throw him on the baseline defense and say do what Rob does on offense and then block shots and rebound, that’s all we need you to do,” Smith said. during the July 19 episode.

Whiteside is currently a free agent after his one-year contract with the Utah Jazz expired at the end of last season. The 10-year-old veteran could be tempted to join the Celtics on a minimum veteran contract as the primary back-up center for a championship-seeking side.

Does Whiteside make sense?

Whiteside stands seven feet tall and is known for his bounce and rim protection. Sure, there have been questions about his overall defensive ability in the past, but overall he’s a viable drop-off defender who can give you solid save minutes at center point.

Last season for the Jazz, Whiteside averaged 8.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game, in his 65 regular season appearances, starting just eight of those contests. As such, it’s fair to assume the veteran big man will be fully capable of fulfilling a similar role for the Celtics, especially as he’s coming off a season where he was a team’s secondary big man. , behind Rudy Gobert.

Of course, Boston could decide to move forward with their current rotation and trust Luke Kornet and Danilo Gallinari to fill the void left by Daniel Theis, who is now with the Indiana Pacers, thanks to the Malcolm Brogdon trade. .

Brad Stevens trusts Kornet

Although he admitted that Boston would like to add another big man, Brad Stevens praised Kornet during a press conference on July 12, noting how he thinks the seven-foot-two center could be a influential member of the rotation.

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“We are really high on Luke. We’ve been really high on Luke. We thought he had a great G-League season and think he can step up and be a passer, ball handler, mover, screen and roller when needed. We’ll probably add one more person who can play in that area, but we really believe in Luke not only as a depth that can help fill out the roster, but also be willing to help us out and help us win. I think he’s at that point where he can help us do that,” Brad Stevens said at a July 12 press conference, where he introduced Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari.

If Kornet can prove to be a reliable defender, using his height to protect the rim and spacing the ground with his three-point shot, there’s every chance he’ll prove himself as an important member of the rotation. and reduces Boston’s need to sign a veterans center to a minimum veterans contract.
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