Wednesday, December 21, 2011
C's likely to carry 14 out of camp
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics did not officially announce roster cutdowns after Wednesday's game, hoping instead to inform players before making the cuts official. But coach Doc Rivers hinted the team is likely to trim down to 14 bodies with eyes towards keeping a roster spot open for an addition down the road.
The Celtics currently have 13 guaranteed contracts, which would mean only one roster spot would be available for camp invites Greg Stiemsma, Gilbert Brown, Jamal Sampson, and Michael Sweetney. Based on playing time, production, and need, it seems quite likely that Boston will carry Stiemsma out of camp, which could mean the end of the road is near for the others.
"I don't know [if the Celtics will carry 15 players], I would say most likely not," said Rivers. "There are guys still out there, unsigned. And we might want to sign them."
Pressed on potentially signing a veteran, Rivers cracked, "First come, first serve. Can we make an announcement to all the free agents?" He then laughed before turning more serious.
"Really, we’re looking around. I still think there will be buyouts, probably starting [Thursday]. So there’s so many things that could happen and we want to make sure if that happens, we’re able to [sign a free agent] quick instead of a delay. We may keep 15 for a couple more days, but after that, we’re probably going to go to 14."
Rivers noted he's comfortable with the team's size, even with only two legitimate centers in Jermaine O'Neal and Stiemsma. The team is well-stocked at power forward and flexibility with players like Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox could satisfy the team's needs up front.
It would seem more likely that the team would target bench scoring, which Rivers highlighted as a chief concern entering the season. The Celtics like what they see out of young players Avery Bradley and E'Twaun Moore, but they could target a veteran scorer to ensure an offensive burst off the bench.
Asked about question marks going into the year, Rivers said: "Honestly, can we play a small lineup? Our size, everyone talks about our size -- which I like, I don't mind our size. Then our bench. I know, defensively, they'll be good enough -- I have no doubt about that. Can we score enough? Get enough scoring from our bench? I think those will be the question marks going into the year."