Analyzing potential Boston Celtics buyout candidates: Ex-champ, 2022-23 locker room leader available

Dec 18, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Orlando Magic center Robin Lopez (33) controls the ball
Dec 18, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Orlando Magic center Robin Lopez (33) controls the ball / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics still have a move to make.

Brad Stevens was active at the NBA trade deadline, improving the team around the margins as the push for a championship reas into high gear. But by sending Delano Banton to the Portland Trail Blazers for cash, the vacancy at the end of the bench remained.

It's hard to pinpoint what the Celtics even need. They're the best team in the league by an increasingly wide margin amid another lengthy win streak following the All-Star break. The advanced statistics are bonkers, matching the eye test that this is one of the best rosters in recent history.

Yet there's no point in leaving the No. 15 spot on the roster unfilled. The options available don't jump off the page and likely won't affect the season's ultimate outcome. But they might, and that's more than enough to warrant an in-depth breakdown of potential options to join the Cs and contend for a title.

Potential Boston Celtics buyout candidates on the market

Otto Porter Jr.

At the deadline, Otto Porter Jr. landed with the Utah Jazz in a salary-matching move but has yet to suit up for the franchise. NBA insider Evan Sidery of Forbes reports that a buyout is likely in the cards.

Just two seasons ago, Porter was a critical part of the Warriors toppling the Celtics in the NBA Finals. The 30-year-old versatile wing has the prototypical build of a modern 3-and-D wing. He's made his mark as a formidable team defender who can survive in switches while a career 39% shooter from beyond the arc.

The main concern is whether he can stay on the floor. Porter has struggled with health since as of late, playing in just 23 games in the last few seasons as a member of the Toronto Raptors. It's not like the sinking ship up North did him any favors, as their roster shuffling and stagnant offense couldn't highlight his strengths.

Porter would offer quality minutes in a pinch and a different dynamic in particular matchups rather than sharpshooter Sam Hauser. He could make the most immediate impact, and his unselfish, team-first attitude would make him an excellent fit.

Patty Mills

Patty Mills is in the midst of his 15th season in the league and might have some gas left in the tank. The Australian guard also knows what it takes to raise a banner, winning the Larry O'Brien trophy with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Having been a part of the Spurs organization for a decade, Mills is a high-IQ player who would be a great addition to the locker room.

Mills is a shoot-first sniper on the court who can light it up from downtown. The once-electric first step has faded with age, but he is still crafty around the rim. He fights defensively, but his size often gets him hunted. At 35, his best days are long behind him, and it's hard to imagine where Mills fits on this team.

He is essentially a worse and older version of Payton Pritchard. The only signing Mills makes sense if he is purely an insurance policy or a guy who can be a spark plug in select situations. 

Isaiah Thomas

Nope, next.

Blake Griffin

In just one season in Boston, Blake Griffin became beloved by both his teammates and the Celtic faithful. In a recent episode of the Barstool Podcast "Pardon My Take," Payton Pritchard and Derrick White shared the team's undeniable admiration for the former number-one overall pick.

"Blake's the best," said Pritchard. "I texted him a week or two ago saying you should come back for one last ride. We begged him to come back—the whole team has begged him to," as White echoed the sentiment.

It's rare to have professional athletes so candidly admit to wanting a player to join their team. Griffin is clearly an elite locker-room presence and someone who everyone respects and admires.

As for actually playing, he offers almost no value. He had some nice when called upon, but his injury history and high-flying play style took a toll on his body. It's hard to imagine that even a few injuries would pave the way for Griffin to see playing time. Seemingly an incredible person, but his basketball days have likely come to an end for a reason. Pass.