Udoka hints at Celtics’ off-season plan by pointing to ‘important’ need originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Just because the Boston Celtics reached their first NBA final since 2010, doesn’t mean they’re happy with their current roster.
Brad Stevens, Celtics president of basketball operations, spoke to reporters earlier this week identified bench scoring as a “short-term necessity” for Boston entering the NBA’s free agency and trade season.
Head coach Ime Udoka is on the same page as his boss.
“For us, consistent scoring from the bench is very important,” Udoka said at a press conference on Friday morning. “…I think we’ve covered a lot of things, but you can always have additions with the trading exceptions we have. So we’ll look at a certain number of names that may be available and see if we can adjust everything in terms of numbers. “
The Celtics have several exceptions for traded players, or TPEs, that they can use to acquire talent without having to match the salaries in a deal. With their biggest TPE ($17.1 million) they could trade for a pretty big name, but it seems more likely the C’s are targeting an experienced free agent who fits into the middle exception ($6.1 million for tax-paying teams) or deal for a veteran that fits in one of their smaller TPEs ($6.9 million or $5.9 million).
After seeing his trio of young reserves – 27-year-old Derrick White, 23-year-old Grant Williams and 24-year-old Payton Pritchard – struggle in the 2022 NBA Finals, Udoka seems eager to add an experienced scorer. add to his second unit.
“I think the thing that stood out a bit in the final was our bench score, sort of bolstering with veteran roles off the bench,” Udoka said.
“We had some young guys that we really relied on – Payton, Derrick, Grant – and those guys were pulling big all year round and we need to see more of that. But certain positions and roles need to be discussed, and we have a big some names we’re looking at. Hopefully some of those names will work for us.”
Udoka also stressed the importance of internal development, and all three of these players have been flashing this ‘postseason’ – especially Williams, who scored 21 points in a Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. But when your bank becomes defeated 52-9 combined in Games 5 and 6 of the NBA Finals, consider adding players with more experience.
The NBA free agency kicks off next Thursday, June 30, and don’t be surprised if the Celtics are interested in veteran scorers earning somewhere in the $5 million or $6 million range.