Veteran striker Blake Griffin has agreed to a fully guaranteed one-year deal with Boston CelticsAnd the According to Adrian Voinarowski. 33-year-old Griffin, who spent the last season and a half with Brooklyn NetworksHe was still a free agent as training camps were opened across the league.
The Celtics suffered two major front-court injuries before the season. Danilo Gallinari ruptured his ACL while playing for Italy in the Basketball World Cup qualifiers and is likely to miss the entire season, while Robert Williams III underwent surgery on his troublesome knee and is expected to miss at least 8-12 weeks.
En route to camp, Al Horford and Grant Williams were the only two true front yard options for the Celtics who had a special time last season. Luke Kornet is expected to play a bigger role in Williams’ absence, but he only appeared in 12 games last season and it is not clear if he could play a bigger role. Pre-selection for first round Mfuundu Kapengel signed a two-way contract with the team in the summer, while Noah Funley and Luka Samanic were invited to the training camp; Kabengele showed flashes in the summer but it’s a question mark, while Vonleh and Samanic may not even be on the team.
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All this means is that the Celtics need some help in the frontal area. What’s more, considering that they signed Gallinari into free agency in large part because they wanted to lighten Horford’s burden. The 36-year-old was fantastic last season, but played 92 games and 2,820 minutes between the regular season and the playoffs. They need to cool him down during the regular season in order to get him to his best in the playoffs again, and that has become an even tougher task after the injury of Gallinari and Williams.
Griffin, even at this point in his career, will offer new coach Joe Mazzola a veteran option that can eat minutes into the regular season and help avoid Horford. However, how effective it is will still have to be seen. The all-six stars averaged 6.4 points. 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 42.5% shots from the field and 26.2% from 3 points on the ground in 56 games last season. At one point, he was struggling so much that Nets coach Steve Nash not only took him out of the starting line-up but stopped playing with him altogether.
But even if it’s near a lackluster state (or may already be), the benefit to an experienced player like Griffin is that you can count on a high base level of competition. He will work hard, compete on the boards, keep the ball moving and possibly help clear the ground if he can find his shot again. Plus, adding another veteran presence to the locker room couldn’t hurt given everything this team has been through in the past few weeks.
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