After an solid Playoff performance, Celtics center Greg Stiemsma is drawing attention from a number of teams. The 6’11” center posted uninspiring numbers, but his on court production was undeniable.
Per-36, Stiemsma posted 7.6 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per contest, numbers that render him very valuable as a back up center.
Make no mistake, the 26 year old Wisconsin graduate is not going to be a starting NBA center. But that doesn’t negate his value to a Celtics team desperately in need of size and toughness.
For all that Ryan Hollins has athletically, he lacks the toughness and work ethic of Stiemsma, and while Stiemsma may not have an occasional highlight dunk like Hollins, he makes up for it with his heady defensive play and solid rebounding. He blocks 1.5 shots per-36 minutes, which puts him on par and ahead of most backup centers.
Though I wrote of the C’s need to acquire Omer Asik of the Bulls, he has signed with the Houston Rockets, and it is Stiemsma that could be the best bargain.
But for all Stiemsma is, the Celtics could still use some perimeter shooting and defensive toughness. That makes the Minnesota Timberwolves attractive trade partners, a team which has been reported to have interest in Stiemsma. A $4 Million per year contract is reasonable for Stiemsma, which could in turn land either Wesley Johnson or J.J. Barea. Johnson may be a stretch, since he was selected 4th overall and still has shown a lot of promise, but Barea may be a reasonable target.
The question becomes, then, is the signing of Jason Terry and likely re-signing of Ray Allen enough to make Barea unnecessary? Do the Celtics already have enough depth at the guard position?
I think the answer to those questions is ‘Yes.’ Right now, the need for Stiemsma’s toughness is greater than the need for another guard. But that doesn’t mean the Celtics shouldn’t pursue obtaining a tough perimeter player. The Grizzlies declined to pick up the option on high scoring off guard O.J. Mayo, making him an unrestricted free agent and possible add for the C’s, according to Matt Fitzgerald of Bleacher Report. The move would benefit the Celtics immensely, but might over load the backcourt. It would likely signify more trades for a team that is in the process of a make over, though we’re hesitant to call it rebuilding.
For now, decisions must be reached on Stiemsma. Is he ultimately worth the $4 to $5 Million price tag that will be attached to him? 7-footers (OK, he’s 6’11”) don’t come cheap and the Celtics have had trouble finding decent ones. It only makes sense to re-sign one of the few they have had.