Elsa/Getty ImagesWould Anthony Parker look good in green next season?
Continuing our offseason look at players that could be of interest to the Boston Celtics once a new collective bargaining agreement is achieved with a look at guard/forward Anthony Parker:
The skinny: Parker, a 6-foot-6 swingman, is a sneaky 36 years old, boasting only eight seasons of NBA experience. But consider this: The two other players involved in the deal that sent the Lakers' first-round pick to New Jersey were former Celtic Joe Kleine (who is six months shy of his 50th birthday) and George McCloud (whose been out of the league for nearly a decade). The 21st overall pick in the 1997 draft, Parker soon after got flipped to Philadelphia in a seven-player trade that included Keith Van Horn. Parker soon bolted overseas after three disappointing NBA seasons (he appeared in only 55 games) and spent six seasons in Israel and Italy before returning stateside for the 2006-07 campaign. Since then, he's established himself as one of the league's top 3-point shooters and perimeter defenders.
2010-11 season: In 72 appearances (65 starts), Parker averaged 8.3 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists over 29 minutes per contest with Cleveland. His shooting dipped, however, and Parker shot 39.9 percent from the floor and 37.9 percent beyond the arc (the lowest marks since returning to the NBA for a player that has shot 44.5 percent from the field and 40.9 percent beyond the arc for his career). Parker earned $2.9 million in the final year of a two-year, $5.5 million pact with the Cavaliers.
Why it makes sense: The Celtics had their eyes on Parker at the trade deadline last year, but settled for sending rookies Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to Cleveland in exchange for a future second-round draft pick (and instead obtained a much-needed swingman from Oklahoma City in Jeff Green). Parker has potential to fill two of the three needs Doc Rivers mentioned this offseason in shooting and defense. Parker also has three seasons worth of playoff experience, where he has thrived in limited action (22 games) for Toronto and Cleveland.
Why it doesn't make sense: The question is whether Parker can maintain his production while set to turn 37 in December (which would make him older than any member of Boston's Big Three). His defensive rating wasn't very glitzy last season (113 points per 100 possessions), but that might have simply been a reflection of Cleveland's struggles as a whole (a year before, with LeBron James, it was at 107).
Bottom line: The Celtics need someone that can provide the sort of play that Tony Allen and James Posey provided as wings off the bench. Parker's age suggests his next team shouldn't expect too much, but he's got the experience that makes him an intriguing option, especially if available at a low price.