Teams in big markets have it much better than those in smaller cities to attract talent in free agency. Or so we’ve been told over the years. Is that accurate? We explore that in a series of articles ranking the top free agent acquisitions of NBA teams in the last 25 years.
Today: Boston Celtics.
10. Eddie House (August 2007).
Stats: 7.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg and 1.4 apg in 209 games
A three-point sniper next to the Big Three (plus Rajon Rondo) with the ability to play both guard spots. Shot a phenomenal 44.4 percent from beyond the arc in 2008-09, which at the time was tops in Boston Celtics history.
9. Mark Blount (August 2000)
Stats: 7.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg and 0.9 bpg in 338 games
Played a lot of minutes at center for the not-so-stellar pre-Garnett Celtics. Blount could score some, but he made Brook Lopez look like Charles Barkley when it came to rebounding the ball.
8. Shaquille O’Neal (August 2010)
Stats: 9.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 1.1 bpg in 37 games
You may have forgotten about this already, but Shaquille O’Neal played his final NBA games in a Celtic uniform. That was a very injury-battered version of Shaq, though. Due to physical problems, he missed more than half the games in 2010-11 and retired and the end of that season even though he had signed a two-year contract.
7. Amir Johnson (July 2015)
Stats: 7.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 58.5 FG% in 79 games
Has been a glue guy that works hard, rebounds the ball and doesn’t ask for many shots in Boston. That may sound familiar to fans in Toronto.
6. James Posey (August 2007)
Stats: 7.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 1.4 spg in 74 games
Joined the Celtics the same summer as Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and played an important role in Boston’s championship run as a 3-and-D guy. Led the Celtics in three-point shooting percentage in the postseason, opted out of his contract and landed a nice deal in New Orleans.
5. Dominique Wilkins (July 1994)
Stats: 17.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 38.8 FG% in 77 games
Wilkins, who had lost three series to the Celtics in the 80’s, ended up moving to Boston in 1994 when the C’s were no longer that mighty. The same can be said about Wilkins, who failed to average 20 ppg for the first time in 12 seasons. Managed to lead the team in scoring, though.
4. Dana Barros (September 1995)
Stats: 10.1 ppg, 3.3 apg and 41.1 3P% in 307 games
Joined his hometown team in Free Agency 1995 after making the All-Star Game with the Philadelphia 76ers. Known more for his outside shooting than for his playmaking, Barros was a pretty solid player off the bench in the second half of the 90’s.
3. Evan Turner (September 2014)
Stats: 10.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.0 apg and 1.0 spg in 163 games
The do-it-all swingman has been a terrific fit with Brad Stevens‘ Celtics. He’s a solid jumper away from being an All-Star. Will be expensive to keep him in Boston this summer.
2. Xavier McDaniel (September 1992)
Stats: 11.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg and 47.2 FG% in 232 games
No longer the All-Star caliber player he had been in the late 80’s, the intimidating McDaniel played mostly as a reserve for the post-Bird Celtics and was quite efficient in that role, especially early on.
1. David Wesley (July 1994)
Stats: 12.7 ppg, 5.8 apg and 39.9 3P% in 207 games
Undrafted out of Baylor and with very limited playing time with the Nets, Wesley signed in Boston and surpassed all expectations giving the Celtics a real outside scoring threat. At just 6-0, he could play the two guard spot and would finish his career as the top NBA scorer among undrafted players.