Resetting the Celtics’ free agent options at center

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

UPDATE: The Celtics agreed to a two-year deal with Enes Kanter on Monday afternoon. The Celtics will still be in the market for another big or two but will only have the league minimum to use to sign them, which are covered further down on this list.  

The Celtics have very limited means to replace Al Horford and Aron Baynes on the free agency market, currently holding just the veteran’s minimum after using the room-level exception on Enes Kanter. They are trying to potentially increase that total to the full mid-level ($9.2 million) if they are able to sign-and-trade Horford or Kyrie Irving but there is no clear resolution looming on that front.

In the meantime, the Celtics are left waiting as other cap space and spent to find out who is willing to take a little bit of a discount for a starting job at center. There is going to be a decent name or two that eventually falls to Boston but some other dominoes (Kawhi Leonard) have to fall in the meantime. What’s less clear is who the best choice for Danny Ainge to target at center. There is only one starting job that can be offered up and it’s very important that the C’s get this signing right with such limited flexibility. Who are the candidates to monitor in the coming days? Let’s break down the possibilities and explore their potential fits, price tag and who will be competing with the Celtics for them.

Best remaining true big PF/Cs for (up to) mid-level money

Enes Kanter
DeMarcus Cousins
Kevon Looney
Willie Cauley-Stein
JaVale McGee
Nerlens Noel
Daniel Theis (C’s own his rights)
Noah Vonleh
Richaun Holmes
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

DeMarcus Cousins
Age: 29
Overview: His market will be fascinating one year after coming off a torn Achilles and quad. After a year of chemistry issues, it’s a fair question whether the front office would hesitate to bring him in. However, if the price is low enough, it’s a rehab project the C’s could consider. He easily has the most potential upside out of anyone on this list. The Warriors won’t be able to re-sign him for decent money after they traded for D’Angelo Russell.
Price: $4.7-9 million

Euro signing?

Vincent Poirier
Age: 25
Overview: The Celtics have been rumored to have interest in the seven-footer who just finished a season with Baskonia. He’s a rim-running seven-footer with good mobility for a big. Fouls a lot but he sticks with guards pretty well for his size. No real jump shot to speak of. C’s could offer a big opportunity to start but unclear if they will have to pay more than veteran’s minimum to lure him overseas.

Willie Cauley-Stein