As the NBA offseason has dragged on, it has become more and more difficult to find the right fit for the Celtics at the center spot, where the team needs to add depth behind Robert Williams and Al Horford to replace the departed Daniel Theis. Or, maybe, they don’t really need to add depth—the third big man may already be on the roster, according to a team insider.
The big guy is Luke Kornet, the 7-foot-2. 27-year-old veteran whom the team signed a two-year, lightly guaranteed contract this month to remain with the team after he came aboard in February. Kornet did not see much time with Boston last season, playing 85 minutes in 12 games, but has the size and shot-blocking skill to be a short-term fill-in at center.
The Celtics could yet find another veteran to fill the role. But Kornet is an option.
As Heavy Sports insider Steve Bulpett said in a YouTube talk, “I think they’d like to get a veteran type, but I think they’re comfortable with Luke Kornet in a pinch. But they’re looking for someone who is not going to cost them a lot of money there. Daniel Theis had a pretty hefty contract for Daniel Theis. As much as they liked what he did and understood what they were doing, you’ve got to budget for your position.”
Kornet Makes Financial Sense for the Celtics
Kornet, of course, fits the Boston budget nicely, with a minimum salary worth $2.1 million. While there has been some frustration about the Celtics’ lack of activity when it comes to filling out the center position, cost is probably a driving factor here. Kornet has not made much of an impact in the NBA in five seasons spent bouncing through five different organizations (Boston, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Chicago and New York) but he has the size and some semblance of shooting ability to warrant a look.
And he is cost-effective. Kornet’s deal is worth $1 million if he is on the roster on Opening Night, and does not become guaranteed until January 10. The Celtics, already well over the luxury tax, can give him an opportunity on the cheap, then make a roster move in January if an improvement is needed.
The team has two trade exceptions that will go into next January, and one of those could be used to find a third big …read more