BOSTON (CBS) – With the season set to begin in just a few weeks, the Boston Celtics know they have some work to do to put together a full roster.
“We have about eight players to sign. That’s not including our draft players, which we’re in the process of getting signed,” Celtics president of Basketball Ops Danny Ainge said Thursday. “We have a lot of needs; our whole bench. We have six players under contract right now. We have point guard position, wing positions and big guys to fill.”
When asked about the team’s priority, Ainge said it was pretty simple; the Celtics need to get bigger.
“We need size,” he said.
With the NBA lockout keeping teams in limbo from July to late-November, general managers now have little time to assemble before training camps open on December 9. For some cash strapped teams near the top of the salary cap, like the Celtics, this will prove to be more difficult.
Danny and Doc On Celtics Plans
“We’re just in the game. We have a list of players we’d like to get,” said Ainge, saying he’s planning on using his smaller mid-level exception. “Right now there’s a lot of money out there, a lot of teams with cap space. Players are waiting for the big pay days, and we have to be patient in this process.”
The Celtics have their potential starting five set in Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O’Neal. After that, the C’s have just Avery Bradley coming off the bench, with a qualifying offer out to Jeff Green. They would like to bring back restricted free agent Glen Davis as well, and add more depth when it comes to the bigs.
“We think we’ll have a good roster,” said Ainge. “We like our guys, we like our starting five and the core group of guys, we think, are very special players. We think we’ll have a strong bench also.”
Once the roster is assembled, then comes the process of integrating everyone into the Celtics system, something the man calling the plays is not too worried about even with a short window of time.
“I think we’ll be fine,” said head coach Doc Rivers. “That is going to be a challenge. With the additions, and we don’t know who we’re going to add; we have a list and we’re going after that list. When you’re integrating half a team to another half a team, it’s going to be…. But we’re not the only group doing that.”
“We do have a core group that is familiar with what we’re going to do, and obviously they’re going to be extremely important to start the season; to help carry whatever new guys we have,” added Rivers. “But I expect us, on the first game, to be ready. We may have to put in more work to get there, we may have to go doubles in training camp and even through the preseason to get there, but I think we can get there.”
While players can begin working out at team facilities on Thursday, Rivers and Ainge cannot be around for that. But giving the players the keys to the gym with no supervision is not something the team has to be concerned about, especially with such a veteran squad like the Celtics.
“I think we have a really professional group, at least the guys we have,” said Rivers.”They’ll be in the gym, that’s who they are. I think they’ve been in the gym. Quite honestly, every time I go to dinner somewhere in Boston, I hear a story about one of them at some YMCA or something. That’s a good thing — they’re going to work on their craft.”
“At the end of the day, this whole thing is just starting,” Rivers said. “We have to be patient. I have to be patient, obviously. The whole process has to work its way out.”