• Matt Esposito

The Boston Celtics Sign a Pair of Bigs

USA Today

What are the deals?

Woj has reported that the Boston Celtics have re-signed Daniel Theis using their early bird exception. His deal nets the center $10 million over two years. Danny Ainge was also able to land French big man Vincent Poirier. The 7-foot center will be signed using the minimum exception and is set to enter the NBA as a 26-year-old rookie.

What do these bigs bring to the team?

Theis played well during his rookie year but had his fair share of ups and downs throughout his sophomore campaign. Yet, some of this may be attributed to an overall rocky year for the Celtics. At his best Theis is a physical lob-catcher who is unafraid to meet opponents at the rim.

Boston had an offensive rating of 128 when he was on the floor, which is largely due to Theis’ efficiency. He made a leap as a perimeter shooting by making 38 percent of his triples. Additionally, he converted 72.5 percent of his attempts near the rim. The Cs were plus 7.8 with Theis on the court and these numbers tell why. So, how can Poirier help?

The Frenchman is an acceptable rim protector and flashes some solid skills. Poirier has had some notable performances overseas. Two seasons ago in the EuroLeague against powerhouse Fenerbahçe, Poirier was able to consistently hit double figures again former NBA bigs like Jason Thompson and Jan Vesely.

Poirier will be able to play right away due to his IQ. He will also make the adage you can’t teach height ring true. Expect him to be at his best when diving to the rim and parking his big body in front of players who are attacking to hoop. He even has a little shooting touch, too, although he won’t be draining many 3-pointers this year.

What this move means for the Celtics?

The Celtics now have four centers on their roster. They are bringing back Robert Williams and signed Enes Kanter earlier this week. If I had to guess, one of these players may not spend the entire year in Boston.

Theis signed for a deal worth $5 million per year. When combined with a young prospect such as Guerschon Yabusele, Theis’ middling contract makes trades easier to complete. Perhaps the Celtics will need to plug a positional hole or look for an upgrade either at the center position or backup playmaker spot. Theis’ contract makes a move like this possible, especially when the future first round pick from Milwaukee in thrown in.

Yet, there is a world where all four of these bigs last the year. Poirier can’t stretch the floor but he provided toughness and skill around the hoop. Theis may actually see a few more minutes per game as the Celtics test to see if he can replace some of Al Horford’s spacing. Time will tell.

How would you grade these contracts?

Considering the dearth of available big men on this year’s free agent market, I would give this signing a B+. The Celtics were strapped by the cap in their search of another big man. They found a way to bring back Theis on an affordable, tradeable deal and brought in a sought after European big on the cheap as well. Job well done.

Final thoughts

Don’t fall in love with the quartet of Kanter, Theis, Williams and Poirier. The odds are that one of them gets moved later on in the season. Still, Ainge’s retooling of this Celtics roster continues to impress.

#NBA #2019NBAFreeAgency #2019FreeAgentSignings #Celtics