Throughout the offseason, there will be reports and whispers about players that the Celtics might be interested in. Each time a name bubbles up, we'll ask an ESPN Boston writer to react to the rumor. Kicking things off: A veteran Chicago scribe says the Boston Celtics could be interested in restricted free agent center Omer Asik. Like a summer romance, could this love truly last?
From NBA.com's Sam Smith: The Celtics are one the teams said to be considering a strong offer to Bulls center Asik. The thinking is it might help them retain Kevin Garnett, who though playing very well at center the second half of the season doesn’t want to return as a center.
ESPN Boston reaction: Asik is a restricted free agent on the books for a $2.3 million qualifying offer from the Bulls. If the Celtics bring back Garnett, they will almost certainly be over the cap and that means Boston will have only the taxpayer's mid-level exception ($3 million) available to lure anything more than a minimum-salary player (at least for a free-agent of which they don't already own the rights to). All of which is to say, Asik would almost certainly command more money from another team and -- even if he didn't -- the Bulls can still match the price tag, so don't expect an Asik-Garnett pairing. Now, if Garnett does not return, clearly the Celtics might be interested in a young defensive-minded center who already has knowledge of their system having played for Tom Thibodeau in Chicago. Alas, the question becomes whether Asik is a long-term answer worthy of an elevated price tag. -- Chris Forsberg
Bonus reading: For a solid breakdown of Asik's season and what lies ahead, check out his season-ending player recap on ESPN Chicago.