At this point in free agency, there’s a general understanding that teams take what they can get. They go for value, look for lower tier talent, and aim for bargains to fill out the roster while keeping an ear to the ground for trades. The whirlwind is behind us, and generally all that remains is the rubble not swept up by the gusts.
According to Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe, the Celtics are examining both of the remaining avenues laid before them in their search for another wing player. Benbow notes that Rudy Fernandez is on the C’s wish list, just as he’s coveted by every other sensible team in the Eastern Conference. Nothing particularly news-worthy there.
But the Boston alternative, should Fernandez not shake himself free from the Blazers? Larry Hughes. The man who has somehow dodged unemployment like the plague, despite the fact that he’s a 31 year-old jumpshooter who could never shoot.
The Celtics have made a number of notable acquisitions this summer, and have done well to supplement their pre-existing core through free agency (Jermaine O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal) and the draft (Avery Bradley, Luke Harangody). They retained Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and head coach Doc Rivers. Now they could add Larry Hughes to that mix for who knows what reason, other than the fact that he’s one of the bigger names among the remaining free agents, and happens to fill a desired position.
Hughes isn’t even a former star drifting quietly into the night. He was good, but far from great, at his peak. He’s always been plagued by poor shot selection and a few too many turnovers, and though he was once a decent enough defender, saying he’s maintained that level of defensive effectiveness would be a hell of a stretch.
What would Hughes’ purpose on the Celtics even be? To score? He shot 35.5% from the field last season. To space the floor? He’s a career 31% shooter from three. To set up the offense? I’d be more comfortable with Nate Robinson or rookie Avery Bradley running the show. Why NBA teams continue to offer Hughes employment is beyond me, and an elite club like the Celtics would seem to have no business even returning his agent’s calls.
Boston can do better, even if better is leaving the roster as-is. Rudy Fernandez is well-worth the trouble and the roster spot, but if it comes down to Hughes or some roster flexibility, the Celtics would be wise to keep their options open.