We have made it through the bulk of free agency.
Fans are always looking for the next, best thing, the guy who can come in and make a difference. It’s now August and time to be honest — any guy who can really help your team has already been picked up. There are a few respectable role players left, each trying to get more money than teams are willing to shell out at this point. But the guys who make a big difference are gone.
Still, there are some names you know still out there. Here is a list of the key free agents on the market (this is not a complete list), by position, and in alphabetical order).
Covet them if you want. Just don’t over value them.
Point guards: Leandro Barbosa (really a combo guard), Derek Fisher, Jonny Flynn and Jannero Pargo.
Shooting guards/Small forwards (swingmen): Matt Barnes, Josh Childress, Carlos Delfino, Ryan Gomes, Tracy McGrady, Dominic McGuire, Jodie Meeks and Mickael Pietrus.
Power forwards/Centers (bigs): Ivan Johnson, Kenyon Martin, Darko Milicic, and Anthony Tolliver.
Chris Paul broke his finger Saturday.
The initial diagnosis said the injury wasn’t serious.
Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times:
Paul obviously wouldn’t push it during the preseason. If the Clippers are allowing him to play, this can’t be bad.
Really, the most challenging aspect to this is grasping the concept that a broke finger can be a minor injury.
Brad Stevens has a big challenge this year – sorting the Celtics’ deep roster of similarly able players.
It seems that process is shaking out at power forward and center.
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:
it appears Boston’s first four bigs will be starters David Lee and Tyler Zeller, with Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk off the bench.
That leaves Jonas Jerebko and Jared Sullinger, potentially on the outside looking in as far as the regular rotation is concerned.
Lee is the best passer of the bunch, which could partially explain why he’s starting. Boston’s most likely starting point guard, Marcus Smart, is still growing into the role of the lead ball-handler at the NBA level. Lee and presumptive starting shooting guard Avery Bradley can take some pressure off him.
Olynyk can space the floor for Isaiah Thomas-Johnson pick-and-rolls with the reserves and run pick-and-pops with Thomas himself.
I’m a little surprised Zeller is starting over Johnson, though. The Celtics just signed Johnson to a $12 million salary, and I thought they’d rely on his defense to set a tone early. Like Johnson, Zeller is a quality pick-and-roll finisher who can thrive with Thomas.
This is particularly bad news for Sullinger, who – barring a surprising contract extension – is entering a contract year. It seems those reports of offseason conditioning haven’t yet paid off. Jerebko’s deal also isn’t guaranteed beyond this season, but at least he has already gotten his mid-sized payday. Sullinger is still on his rookie-scale contract.