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What Does Nenad Krstic’s Departure Mean for Celtics Fans?
Boston Celtics fans won't be seeing Nenad Krstic(notes) back on the court in green and white in the 2011-12 season. Krstic recently joined CSKA Moscow, the current champions of Russia's basketball league, signing an impressive two-year contract worth $8.7 million. It's hard to imagine that Krstic would've been able to say "no" to that kind of money, especially considering that his future with Boston was cloudy at best.
Fellow fans didn't really get to see enough of Krstic at the Garden for the departure to mean much beyond the gap he'll be leaving behind. Krstic was a big man on a Cs roster that's only really been able to rely on Kevin Garnett(notes) as the only consistent big man on the squad. Over the last season, we saw Shaquille O'Neal(notes) pretty much live up to expectations when he took to the court early on in the season, but seeing him sidelined with an Achilles injury made for a bumpy 2011.
When it became clear that Shaq's injury meant that Doc Rivers wasn't going to be able to count on his presence, the team's needs became pretty clear. Despite the back and forth over the loss of Kendrick Perkins(notes) (more of a gamble than taking care of an immediate "need"), Ainge's decision to get Krstic was probably the right one.
I say "probably" because Krstic was who we got in exchange from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Nate Robinson(notes). We all know what happened with Rajon Rondo(notes) in the weeks following the trade, and fans can't help wondering whether Rivers would've put in Robinson as Rondo readjusted. The bottom line is that Robinson was far below peak performance, and Krstic made a positive impact.
Krstic averaged 9.1 points and 5.3 total rebounds per game after joining the Cs at the end of February. He was also .537 from the field, which is actually the best field goal percentage of his career. Of course, the qualifier is that he only played in 24 games with the Celtics. Now the question is just who the team will pick up to fill in the gaps left behind after Krstic's departure and Shaq's retirement. It's a safe bet that another big man will be making his way to Boston before the season starts.
Taurus Londono has lived in Massachusetts for over ten years. His time at UMass Amherst made him a Celtics fan for life.
Stats from Basketball Reference
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