The Celtics' center rotation took two significant hits this summer. First, Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL, an injury that's likely to sideline him for the season. Then, Robert Williams underwent an arthroscopic knee injury and won't resume basketball activities for 8-12 weeks. That means Boston might be without the Timelord until January.
Additionally, Al Horford's 36, and after only playing in 28 games with the Thunder in 2020-21, he's coming off a Finals run and truncated offseason entering the 2022-23 campaign.
While the Celtics believe in Luke Kornet, banking on him to successfully make the most significant leap of his career, going from third string to a rotation fixture was ill-advised.
The signing of Blake Griffin, an acquisition reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, gives Boston a proven option to add to its depth at the pivot. Per Wojnarowski, Griffin's deal with the Celtics is a one-year contract that's fully guaranteed. Rather than making a trade, this move allows Boston to enter the season with its rotation intact, which was always the team's preference.
Injuries and aging have slowed the now 33-year-old Griffin, but while he's not the same caliber of player who earned six All-Star appearances and got named to an All-NBA Team five times, in the short stints he'll be on the court, he can still make an impact at both ends of the floor.
He showed a glimpse of that when he scored eight points in less than eight minutes against the Celtics in Game 3 of their first-round matchup against the Nets, making two of his three attempts from beyond the arc.
Griffin's also the most mobile of Boston's free-agent options at center. He isn't reduced to a deep drop when the player he's guarding comes up to set an on-ball screen.
Furthermore, he's the most versatile offensive option the Celtics could've signed. As his career has unfolded, he's evolved into a much-improved facilitator, long-range shooter, and ball-handler. Griffin averages 4.1 career assists per game. Last season, he shot 26.2 percent from beyond the arc on 2.6 attempts per contest, but the year prior, he knocked down 38.3 percent of the 3.1 threes he hoisted.
Additionally, Boston likely believes Griffin will fit well in the locker room. And after averaging 17.1 minutes in 56 games with the Nets last season, including 26 starts, and logging 21.5 minutes with them the year before, there's an expectation he'll handle this role with the necessary maturity rather than becoming a distraction while making clear his frustration over a lack of playing time or touches.