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At his introductory press conference, Danilo Gallinari shared that he turned down more lucrative offers elsewhere to join the team he fell in love with as a kid, watching Celtics games with his dad, cheering on Larry Bird.

When asked about playing home games at TD Garden, a smiling Gallinari responded, "I think about it. I had dreams about it, and I can't wait until it's reality and to start the season and experience that as a Boston Celtics player."

Unfortunately, that prospect is in jeopardy. Upon further examination, Gallinari tore his ACL, a non-contact injury he suffered while suiting up for the Italian National Team for a FIBA World Cup Qualifier.

Given that he's six-foot-ten and is a ground-bound player who relies far more on craftiness and veteran savvy than explosivity and agility, it's possible he could return and make an impact late in the season and in the playoffs.

It's also possible the 34-year-old never plays for Boston. However long his absence extends, the Celtics will have to find ways to make up for his projected offensive production. Gallinari, a career 15.6 points per game scorer, was brought in to provide a needed boost for a second unit ranked in the bottom five in points per game in the regular season, averaging 30.2 per contest. In the playoffs, Boston's bench ranked 14th out of 16 teams, providing only 22.5 points, according to

It's not just that the Celtics are losing a player who's built a 13-year career out of his abilities as a scorer; the way he scores fits with what the team needs.


As an always reliable kick-out option, Gallinari drilled 41.9 percent of his 3.6 catch-and-shoot threes last season, per He also made 45.5 percent of the 1.5 wide-open shots he took from beyond the arc and converted his 2.4 open threes at a 35.4 percent clip, per

Given his size and savvy, Gallinari also represented a player Boston could throw the ball to in the low post and trust to produce points, another way he can make life easier on the team's top offensive creators.

As the Celtics attempt to replace his production, they must overcome two significant obstacles. Gallinari's injury occurred about a month before training camp starts, leaving few palatable options to add via free agency.

Secondly, they already project to have one of the NBA's most expensive payrolls this season. Their roster currently costs roughly $170.1 million and comes with a luxury tax bill of $45.2 million, resulting in a combined payment of $215.3 million. They must sign at least two more players to standard contracts. Doing so will bring their luxury tax payment to at least $59 million. As a result, their total expenses will exceed $230 million this season.


As Boston weighs whether to sign Carmelo Anthony, a 10+-year veteran, signing him for the veteran minimum would cost $2.9 million in player salary and a $10 million luxury tax hit.

If ownership's willing to stomach that, signing Anthony is a logical way for the Celtics to fill the newly created void for another second-unit scorer. Last season, he produced 13.3 points on 10.5 shots while logging 26 minutes per game for the Lakers. He's also shot at least 37.5 percent from beyond the arc on a minimum of 3.9 long-range attempts per game in the last three seasons.

Before signing Anthony, the 10-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA member would have to instill confidence in the Celtics that he's willing to accept a role with fewer minutes and shots than he'd like.

As a future Hall of Famer and one of the top scorers of his generation, Anthony would have influence in the locker room. He can provide a lot of value as a mentor, teaching the game and what he's learned from what he's done right and wrong in his career. But for a title contender led by a young but experienced core, there's no room for him complaining about his role, even if there are nights he doesn't play or receives minimal minutes.

Signing Anthony would help offensively, but it wouldn't address Boston's most-pressing need with Gallinari sidelined. The latter factored into how the Celtics planned to manage their rotation at center.

The last thing they want is to place too much of a strain on Rober Williams or Al Horford; relying on Luke Kornet, even if just at the start of the season, could lead Boston down that path.


In Malcolm Brogdon, the Celtics added a sixth man who generated 19.1 points per game last season. Derrick White could also prove more consistent thanks to being more comfortable after arriving in Boston at the trade deadline.

And while the Celtics don't have a natural small forward to bring off the bench, depending on the matchup, at six-foot-five and six-foot-four, respectively, Brogdon and White can move up a position defensively. It also helps that the former has a 6'10 wingspan and that White's is 6'7.5. That also gives Ime Udoka the option to play Brogdon, White, and Payton Pritchard together.

Boston will also short shift Jayson Tatum to keep at least one of he and Jaylen Brown on the court. But another way to pace those two through the coming campaign is to slide Grant Williams down a spot defensively.

So, perhaps the Celtics focus on acquiring a center. That decision would also create an opportunity for Sam Hauser to carve out a role, primarily by proving he's a reliable kick-out option.

Going that route could lead to the signing of Montrezl Harrell. The undersized (six-foot-seven) but energetic center is a career 12.9 points per game scorer who does his damage around the rim.


Harrell split last season between Washington and Charlotte, producing 14.1 points with the Wizards and 11.4 with the Hornets. He's also averaged 5.3 rebounds per contest for his career.

Harrell doesn't provide much defensively, but Boston didn't sign Gallinari to make an impact on that end, either.

Per multiple reports, including from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Harrell recently had felony charges of marijuana trafficking reduced to a misdemeanor possession. That could pave the way for him to sign with a team.

Another free agent the Celtics might have interest in is Blake Griffin. He's not the player he once was, but perhaps in short shifts, he might have it in him to consistently contribute at both ends of the court.

At this stage in his career, like Gallinari, he's best suited to play at center defensively. He's better on that end than the latter, and while he's an inch shorter, between his strength and still being the more mobile of the two, that would likely prove true at the pivot.


Another former Net to keep an eye on is LaMarcus Aldridge. He and Udoka spent time together in San Antonio and Brooklyn. Last season, Aldridge averaged 12.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 22.3 minutes of floor time in 47 appearances. However, he was not a part of the Nets' playoff rotation.

The Celtics could also trade for a center such as Alex Len. Last season, the former fifth overall pick generated six points and 4.1 rebounds in 15.9 minutes per game for the Kings. Len is on an expiring contract valued at $3.9 million.

And if Boston wants to make a more significant move before the season, the Celtics could part with a player like White, who's on the books for $18.8 million for 2022-23. They could even pair it with Gallinari's $6.5 million cap hit to trade for a player they believe is an upgrade that gives them more balance.

Boston has plenty of options to address the loss of Gallinari, but relying exclusively on internal solutions, even if it's only to start the season, seems ill-advised. Given the Celtics' lack of depth at center, acquiring an upgrade at the pivot to bring off the bench before the upcoming campaign gets underway should be their focus.

Further Reading

Weighing Whether the Celtics Should Sign Carmelo Anthony

Malcolm Brogdon Reached Out to Jaylen Brown Amid Rumors of Celtics Trading for Kevin Durant

Examining How the Celtics Might Manage Their Center Rotation

Panel of NBA Coaches, Executives, and Scouts Cites Celtics as the Team that had the Best Offseason

In Poll of NBA Coaches, Scouts, and Executives, Jayson Tatum Earns Votes for NBA's Best Player in Five Years

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown Know Team Success Brings Individual Honors: 'We’re trying to accomplish something together'

[Watch] Jaylen Brown Pushes Himself to the Limit in Offseason Workout

Here's What Stands Out About the Celtics' Schedule