BOSTON (CBS) — After waiving David Lee last week, the Celtics now have one free roster spot for the first time all season to help address the team’s weaknesses heading into the stretch run.
Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge both indicated the team would take its time filling that spot.
“Based on all of our discussions, we’re only filling our roster with people that we think can help us,” Stevens told reporters last week. “I think it’s more important that we find the right fit for our roster if we’re going to fill that spot. And we don’t have to fill that spot.”
On Monday, we got our first look at the potential direction Ainge and Stevens may be looking in to find that final piece.
Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders reported that the Celtics were one of three teams that have looked into adding power forward Reggie Evans to the fold.
Evans, 35, has not played in the NBA this season, but is recognized as one of the best rebounders in NBA history. He’s led the NBA in rebounding percentage (rebounds grabbed/rebound opportunities) twice in his career and currently has the second best rebounding percentage among all players in NBA history.
He’s clearly at the tail end of his career after electing to sit out the first four months of the 2015-16 campaign, but the 6-foot-8 forward still ranked among the league’s best on the glass last season for the Sacramento Kings. He grabbed 6.4 rebounds per game despite averaging just 16.3 minutes per contest.
That rebounding rate would put him ahead of the C’s best rebounder (Jared Sullinger) this season and help address the team’s weakness on the defensive glass. Boston ranks 24th in the league in defensive rebounding rate and after getting crushed on the boards by the Cleveland Cavaliers in last year’s postseason, it’s clearly an area the team could use some reinforcements.
The Celtics already have a bit of a logjam in the frontcourt with Sullinger, Amir Johnson, Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk all jockeying for minutes, but Evans would give Brad Stevens an appealing veteran option if he were brought into the fold. The team has gone after him once before during the Big Three era, and there’s no question his rebounding ability may be able to cover up some of the team’s boarding deficiencies by playing small ball.
Time will tell if Ainge can convince the 13-year veteran that the Celtics would be a good fit for him, but you probably won’t find many more free agents out there at this stage of the season that could address a need for Boston as well as Evans.
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.