In an unfortunate turn of events, Danilo Gallinari’s injury status has changed for the worst. The new Boston Celtics signee has now been diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee that will sideline him from anywhere between six to 12 months.
The Celtics and Gallinari worked together this week on a complete, thorough analysis following the knee injury on Saturday during FIBA play for Italy. The typical ACL recovery time ranges from 6-to-12 months. https://t.co/dg86TQUjoi
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 2, 2022
This isn’t the first time Gallinari has injured that knee, as he suffered the exact same tear in 2013. So, it’s time for the Celtics to think about dealing with Gallinari’s absence not only internally, but also externally.
For that, Boston might have to peruse the free agent market. While the Celtics are a bit cash-strapped at the moment and have already put a lot of money into the current roster, they might not have to spend a ton for a rental-type player.
Here are three free agents that the Celtics could sign to fill the hole left by Gallinari’s devastating injury.
3. Carmelo Anthony
Perhaps the most talked about potential free agent for the Celtics is future Hall-of-Famer Carmelo Anthony. While the 38-year-old is far from his prime, he had a solid stint in LA with the Lakers, putting up 13.3 points per game in the 2021-22 season.
Moreover, he played nearly a full season that year, which is impressive at his age and for most NBA players nowadays. Melo’s shooting capabilities are well-known and he can even crash the boards effectively. Of course, he’s not the world’s greatest defender and his age will make him a liability on that side of the ball. Yet, with Gallinari, Boston wasn't planning to get a defensive stalwart anyway.
Bringing the veteran aboard could give Boston some offensive power off the bench, but there’s always the worry that he might take away touches from stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Regardless, signing Melo could be feasible for the Celtics since he wouldn’t put much of a dent in their funds.
2. Timothé Luwawu-Cabarott
Timothé Luwawu-Cabarott has gone under the radar this offseason and he’s definitely worth another look from the Celtics. The French NBA guard can shoot it well (39.8 field goal percentage last season) and had some decent years with the Brooklyn Nets not so long ago.
He’d settle into more of a bench player role than Anthony and has better athleticism and defensive upside. Also, he’s been playing for the French national team during the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, so it’s not like he’d be completely rusty if Boston looked to him as a Gallinari replacement.
Overall, TLC could be a solid spot-up shooter for the C’s that could benefit from the driving abilities of Tatum and Brown.
1. Jake Layman
Jake Layman has never really had a chance to shine in the NBA. The six-foot-eight small forward has never averaged more than 22 minutes per season and has not elevated to a starting role much.
While some of this can be pinned on Layman himself, he provides a similar body type to Gallinari and has the potential to be a better defender. Unfortunately, signing him would be a bit of a risk since he’s never wowed in the NBA, yet he does have the added upside of being a Boston local.
Born in Norwood, Massachusetts, Layman could settle into a new lifestyle in Boston. Plus, he won’t break the bank for the C’s due to his lack of past success.
Regardless of who the Celtics take a chance on, someone has to step up to make up for Gallinari’s injury. Hopefully whoever Boston tracks down can put in valuable minutes and allow Boston’s starters valuable rest, as early-season fatigue doomed the Celtics in the NBA Finals last year.
No matter what, the Celtics’ depth is going to be tested in the 2022-23 NBA season much sooner than anyone thought.