How will Celtics handle their center depth after Kemba trade?


The Boston Celtics all of a sudden have a ton of depth at center after trading point guard Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.

The C's dealt Walker, a 2021 first-round draft pick and a 2023 second-rounder to the Thunder for centers Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2025 second-rounder.

In a Zoom press conference Monday morning, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens was asked about the team's centers and any other moves that could be made from group.

"With (Rob Williams and Al Horford), and Tristan (Thompson), Moses (Brown), and we still got Tacko (Fall) on his contract, we have a lot of decisions to make but also a lot of flexibility," Stevens explained. "Those guys -- you're talking about some really good players at that position. We'll see how it all shakes out."

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An important challenge for the Celtics is determining which centers not only play well with each other, but also can help maximize the production from the team's wings, most notably Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

"That just becomes a longer discussion, without getting into specifics, of can guys play together? Can you do the double-big thing with certain groups? Are there certain guys who pair better together?" Stevens said.

"I do think, for instance, Tristan's ability to switch and his ability rebound allows him to play with a (floor-spacer) like Al, who also has a lot of flexibility. Rob's ability to play in the dunker and getting Al into the seams and playing with a lob game and those types of things, gives you flexibility. Those are things we'll have to figure out.

"That won't be as much my decision once those times come and once the roster is set. I will be out of that. Then it will be whoever the coach is to figure out how they want to utilize everybody. We'll try to get an idea of how guys could possibly play together."

The Celtics' most talented center is Robert Williams.

His defense is exceptional, he plays with great athleticism and his ability to finish off lobs and around the rim in general is impressive. Finding more minutes for Williams and allowing him to take a few more steps in his development would be an ideal outcome for the Celtics next season.

The problem with Williams is his durability. Injuries have forced him to miss a bunch of games during his three seasons in Boston. Therefore, it's good that the Celtics have so much depth at center. They might be able to withstand an injury (or two) and still get what they need at both ends of the floor from that position.

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