The 2020-21 NBA playoffs aren’t even upon us yet. Still, that hasn’t stopped the rumor mills from firing as we look ahead to this 2021 free agency class. With the free agency period a few months away (August 2nd, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania), teams’ big boards are beginning to take shape — and the Boston Celtics should be no different.
Retaining Evan Fournier, who the team acquired at this year’s trade deadline, is expected to be the team’s No. 1 priority this offseason. While the 28-year-old has struggled to see the court much since his arrival in Beantown (COVID protocol), his sharpshooting traits are undoubtedly an added bonus to Boston’s lineup. Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz would seemingly agree with this sentiment, placing the 14.3 ppg career scorer atop the Celtics’ 2021 free agency big board — a big board that is otherwise littered with potential plug-and-play options in the frontcourt.
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Otto Porter Jr. & Paul Millsap Headline C’s ‘Free Agency Big Board’
The Celtics have a few holes on their roster. For starters, they could certainly use another established big next to Robert Williams following the Daniel Theis trade. Furthermore, the team lacks a versatile wing presence beyond superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown… insert Otto Porter Jr. and Paul Millsap.
“Boston should be looking at veterans who can play multiple positions and serve as the starting power forward if needed,” Swartz wrote. “(Otto) Porter is a career 40.2 percent shooter from deep who can defend guards and wings while (Paul) Millsap would bring good defense, floor spacing and 120 games of playoff experience to the Celtics. With only the mid-level exception to use, the Celtics will likely only be able to afford one more quality player after Fournier.”
Porter was floated as a potential buyout target for Boston prior to the Orlando Magic opting to stick out the remainder of the season with the 27-year-old forward. In the final year of a $106.5 million deal, injuries have vastly limited Porter’s production of late. Since 2019, the former No. 3 overall pick has appeared in just 42 games. The injury bug has followed Porter to Central Florida, where he’s played just three games with the Magic due to a sore left foot. Still, when healthy, Porter offers the type of 3-and-D arsenal to better any lineup and elevate the players around him.
Celtics Have Shown Interest in Millsap in the Past
This wouldn’t be the first time Boston has been linked to Millsap. Just this past offseason, The Athletic’s Jared Weiss reported that the Celtics were showing “strong interest” in the veteran big-man. While the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach claimed that the four-time All-Star had the Celtics atop his list of preferred destinations.
The Celtics are showing strong interest in former Nuggets big man Paul Millsap, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA. Millsap provides a veteran presence who fills an important need for the Celtics as they look to strengthen roster in the wake of Gordon Hayward’s departure.
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) November 21, 2020
Obviously, things didn’t pan out between the two parties as Millsap opted to return to Denver on a one-year, $10 million deal. At 36 years old, the Louisiana Tech product is no longer the dominant frontcourt presence he was earlier in his career. Yet, as Swartz alluded to, he’s a wily veteran with loads of postseason experience and the ability to still put the ball in the basket. Millsap is less than one year removed from shooting a career-high 43.5% from 3-point range.