The Boston Celtics need to upgrade their rebounding and rim protection; the answer might be in a cheap free agent.
Emeka Okafor hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2012-13 season as a string of neck injuries have kept him sidelined, but his agent said over the summer that he was feeling better and wanted to return to a contending team in the middle of this season. The Celtics aren’t on the same level of the Cleveland Cavaliers or Golden State Warriors right now, but Okafor would probably find that his options are limited when trying to mount his comeback due to injury concerns and a team like Boston that would allow him to make some sort of a playoff run could still help out his career down the road.
Getting the former Rookie of the Year a roster spot wouldn’t be that hard. The Celtics would have to give up on a guy like Tyler Zeller or Jonas Jerebko and shop them for something completely worthless like a conditional second round pick to a team with cap space that could benefit from an expiring contract at the end of the season. Then you’d be able to sign Okafor very cheap because the cost of a man who has sat out the last three full seasons isn’t going to be that high.
Nobody would expect Okafor to come in at his peak, but the key bench minutes that he could provide could be critical for Boston. The last time we saw Okafor, he was averaging 8.8 RPG and 1.0 BPG with an average of 26.0 MPG. While it would he hard to picture him coming in and playing even that minutes load, he still might be the team’s best volume rebounder just by walking through the door and even getting him out there for 15 minutes could really help the team out in a big way.
It’s not a blockbuster trade and it doesn’t do anything to push you past a team like Cleveland, but if you work him out and like what you see then why not at least try?
Boston will be taking on the Washington Wizards – Okafor’s most recent team – tonight on the road as they look to snap a two game losing streak.