Report: Celtics have had preliminary contact with Andrew Bogut

Associated Press

Boston heads into next season as the only team in the East with a realistic chance to challenge LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they’ve got some questions to answer this season.

At the top of the list: How good is the defense going to be after losing Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder this offseason? Boston was middle of the pack defensively last year (12th in points allowed per possession) and just lost its two best perimeter defenders. It’s not like the Celtics have a vintage rim protector in back to clean up the mess when guys drive the lane, either.

Andrew Bogut might be able to help there, and the Celtics have had some communication with him according to  Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.

A league source said Boston will not rush to fill the spot, and might even keep it open to maintain flexibility. The Celtics this week have been in contact with representatives of several free agents. According to another league source, that group includes center Andrew Bogut, who considered signing with Boston last February before ultimately agreeing to a deal with the Cavaliers. Bogut broke his leg in his first game with Cleveland, though, and has spent this summer rounding back into form.

Bogut is a good defensive center in the paint. He’s not flying in from the weak side for the block athletic, but he’s a big body always in the right position, and he’s also good at helping quarterback the defense. If he could play 15-18 minutes a night off the bench behind Al Horford (who is a solid defender in the paint), it would be a boost for Boston.

The Celtics have one open roster spot and, as noted by Himmelsbach, they will be patient in filling it. But whoever gets that spot is going to have to bring some defense to the party, the Celtics will need it.