BOSTON (CBS) — With Al Horford likely leaving and Aron Baynes traded away on draft night, the Celtics will be scouring the free agent market for an affordable big man. So it makes sense that Boston is among the teams expected to explore signing free agent center Enes Kanter when free agency gets underway, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
The Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers are also expected to express interest in signing Kanter, according to Haynes.
The 6-foot-11 Kanter averaged 13.7 points and 9.8 rebounds last season, starting the year with the Knicks before landing on the Blazers after New York bought him out in December. He averaged 13.1 points and 8.6 rebounds in 23 regular season games with the Blazers, then 11.4 points and 9.7 rebounds in their run to the Western Conference Finals.
Kanter has been solid offensively over his eight-year NBA career, averaging 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds while playing for the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Knicks and Blazers. He was drafted third overall by Utah back in 2011.
He would certainly help the Celtics in the rebounding department, but the problem with Kanter is his defense. In that he doesn’t really play any. That is an issue for a center on a Brad Stevens-coached team.
But Kanter will be one of the many low-cost bigs that Boston explores this offseason, as they look to bulk up their depth in the paint with Robert Williams the only true center currently on the roster. Boston has some cap space to work with, but with rumors swirling that they’re looking to sign Kemba Walker to a max contract, they will only have the room exception to offer up, which comes in around $10 million over two years. While the Celtics can’t offer a big money deal, they can offer veterans a starting gig and plenty of minutes.
NBA free agency opens at 6 p.m. on June 30.