Upon first seeing the cringe-inducing injury to Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari while competing for Italy in a FIBA World Cup qualifier, it was hard to imagine him missing anything less than the entire upcoming regular season. Unfortunately, that seems it will be the case after being diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee.
This is a huge blow to a team who clearly has title aspirations and Gallinari, an older but still crafty offensive weapon, could have surely breached the gap between the first and second units’ offensive discrepancies. The Celtics were nothing short of spectacular during the last half of the regular season and that great play continued into the postseason where they were eventually cooled down by the Golden State Warriors. The team entered the offseason with very few gaps that needed to be filled, but a glaring one was certainly offensive bench production.
Upon signing former Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon and the aforementioned Gallinari, Brad Stevens was able to address the lack of both bench playmaking and scoring by adding the two veterans. Though this injury does not significantly ruin the Celtics’ chances of winning a title, it is fair to wonder whether or not Stevens will be back on the market for a player that could fill Gallinari’s role.
How many veteran, score-first forwards remain on the free agent market? Even more so, how many remain that could make a genuine impact on a team with so much potential and talent already? The first name that comes to mind is free agent Carmelo Anthony.
Many reports have been circulating over the past 48 hours in regard to whether both sides will come to an eventual deal. Anthony, better known as ‘Melo’ among fans of the NBA, will one day enter the hall of fame because of his scoring prowess and not much else. Though his best days are certainly behind him, it would be foolish to say he could not at least have some sort of role on the Celtics if he is willing to buy into head coach Ime Udoka’s defensive minded philosophies.
This is certainly a big ‘if’ due to Melo’s long history of failed defensive assignments and even effort on that side of the court. These mental lapses will not fly under Udoka, who drilled his scheme into the Celtics until the finally bought in, which led to the franchise’s first Finals berth since 2010.
It will be intriguing to see whether or not the team takes a risk on the veteran in hopes of boosting their bench scoring and taking some burden off young forwards Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
If the Celtics do not choose to sign any other players before the season begins, look for forward Grant Williams to continue to have a bigger offensive role off the bench along with guard Derrick White.