The Boston Celtics briefly had hope that they could potentially finesse enough sign-and-trade magic to re-sign Al Horford and pair him with Kemba Walker, but that dream died once the Nets realized there wasn’t any real incentive for them to sign-and-trade for Kyrie Irving.
Horford joined the rival Sixers on a massive four-year deal, and as such the Celtics needed to address a hole at center and will do so by bringing in Enes Kanter into their room exception. The two-year, $10 million deal is a pretty good value, and as Shams Charania of The Athletic notes, Kanter gets flexibility in the form of a player option next year to opt out if he feels he can get more on the open market.
With cap space drying up quickly on Sunday with more than $3 billion in deals going out in the first eight hours of free agency, players that have waited to sign, outside of Kawhi Leonard, will have fewer teams to choose from and it wouldn’t be surprising to see more players taking these kinds of short term deals with quick opt-outs to try again next year or in 2021.
Kanter can help fill the scoring void left by Horford, but will not come close to the defensive presence he provided. Still, it’s a good pick up and he proved last postseason that when engaged he can be a positive influence on a playoff team, which had long been presumed to not be the case because of his defense. He’s improved on it to be passable, and while still a weakness, it no longer is such a detriment that he can’t help out a team with his scoring and rebounding.