Six players Celtics could pursue to replace Danilo Gallinari after ACL injury

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Six players Celtics could pursue to replace Gallinari after ACL injury originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The outlook on Boston Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari's knee injury worsened Friday when the team announced he has a torn ACL.

The original diagnosis was a torn left meniscus. This update is obviously far worse and likely will sideline Gallinari for most, if not all of the 2022-23 NBA season.

The Celtics signed Gallinari as a free agent to provide depth and bench scoring, among other things.

How do they fill his role now?

Below is a list of potential replacements for Gallinari who the Celtics could pursue. It's not a great group of players, but that's to be expected this deep into the offseason.

Keep in mind the Celtics still have two traded player exceptions (TPE), one for $5.9 million that expires in February and another one for $6.9 million that expires Jan. 19.

Carmelo Anthony

Team: Free Agent

Contract: N/A

Age: 38

2021-22 Stats: 13.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.0 APG

Carmelo Anthony is a future Hall of Famer, and even though he's no longer an elite offensive player, he can still provide valuable scoring off the bench.

The veteran forward has shot 37.5 percent or better from 3-point range over the last three seasons. He's also never averaged fewer than 13.3 points per game in a single season. His defense is obviously a challenge at this stage of his career, but the Celtics are loaded with enough good perimeter defenders to overcome Anthony's shortcomings in that area.

Anthony "has been considered a potential signee" for the Celtics following Gallinari's injury, Bally Sports' Brandon Robinson reported Wednesday. He would be a cheap pickup as an unrestricted free agent.

Anthony probably could get a larger role on another team, but for someone who ranks among the most talented players in league history without a championship ring, the chance to win one in Boston could be enticing.

Rudy Gay

Team: Utah Jazz

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 with a $6.18 million salary, plus a $6.48 million player option for 2023-24

Age: 36

2021-22 Stats: 8.1 PPG, 4.4 RPB, 78.5 FT%

The Celtics reportedly had interest in Gay as a free agent in the 2021 offseason, but he signed with the Jazz. Now that the Jazz are in the middle of a full rebuild following the trades of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, it wouldn't be surprising if Gay and other veterans depart Utah in the coming months. Gay is still a decent scorer, a good free throw shooter and could play small forward or power forward. He'd also give Boston some more size at 6-foot-8 and 255 pounds. His $6.1 million salary would fit into the TPE the Celtics created in the Juancho Hernangomez trade.

Cam Reddish

Team: New York Knicks

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 with a $5.95 million salary (final year of rookie contract)

Age: 23

2021-22 Stats: 10.1 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.0 APG

Reddish has failed to live up to expectations after being selected 10th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. He was dealt to the Knicks in January and has so far failed to make a meaningful impact in New York. In fact, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported earlier this week that Reddish wants a trade and a larger role.

Finding a bigger role could be tough in Boston given the talent and depth on the Celtics' roster, but it might give Reddish a chance to shine on a title contender and set himself up for better opportunities next offseason. He has great length, good defensive skills and shoots 90-plus percent from the foul line. His offensive game needs work, but he can easily chip in eight to 12 points on a lot of nights.

Reddish's salary would fit in the Celtics' $6.9 million TPE.

LaMarcus Aldridge

Team: Free Agent

Contract: N/A

Age: 37

2021-22 Stats: 12.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 87.1 FT%

Aldridge played 47 games for the Brooklyn Nets last season and scored in double figures for the 16th consecutive year. He would give the Celtics scoring in the midrange and low post, some much-needed rebounding and size, as well as plenty of playoff experience (72 career postseason games). He's not a 3-point shooter, but he's been above 80 percent from the free throw line most of his career.

Aldridge also should be quite familiar with Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, who played with the veteran power forward in Portland and coached him in San Antonio.


Kelly Olynyk

Team: Detroit Pistons

Contract: Signed through 2023-24 with a salary between $12-13 million per year

Age: 31

2021-22 Stats: 9.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.8 APG

What about an Olynyk reunion?

The Celtics selected Olynyk 13th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft and he played four seasons in Boston. He never developed into a star but did have some memorable moments, including an amazing performance in Game 7 of the 2017 second-round playoff series win over the Washington Wizards.

Olynyk would provide the Celtics with size, rebounding and outside shooting. He shot 36.3 percent from 3-point range last season with the Pistons. He's also a quality free throw shooter and has averaged 10.1 points per game over his career.

Olynyk would have to be acquired via trade and he wouldn't be a rental. However, the final year of his contract in 2023-24 is only partially guaranteed, per Spotrac. His $12 million salary also might be tough for the Celtics to acquire because they don't have many mid-tier salaries in the $8-14 million range to match.

Justise Winslow

Team: Portland Trail Blazers

Contract: Signed through 2022-23 with $4,097,561 salary

Age: 26

2021-22 Stats: 5.7 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.8 APG

Remember when the Celtics reportedly wanted to trade up for Winslow during the 2015 NBA Draft but Michael Jordan and his Charlotte Hornets weren't interested and took Frank Kaminsky with the No. 9 overall pick?

The C's dodged a bullet as Winslow has failed to meet expectations in seven pro seasons. He's not a star and he's not a super valuable 3-and-D player, either. That said, he could play an end-of-the-bench role and provide length (6-foot-6, 222 pounds), defensive versatility and a little scoring.