Boston Celtics: Tristan Thompson fulfils team needs at the center position

With the free agency signing of Tristan Thompson, the Boston Celtics have addressed their glaring needs at the center position.

With just a matter of hours in the book, this free agency has already turned into a frenzy and it doesn’t look like it’ll stop anytime soon as basketball season is well and truly back. For the Boston Celtics, it has been a bit of a whirlwind couple of days. Firstly, Gordon Hayward opted out of his player option ahead of the 2020-21 season, then there were flutterings of a potential sign-and-trade with Indiana before he signed a $120 million deal with the Charlotte Hornets.

And, although there are still murmurings of a potential sign-and-trade happening with the Hornets, this isn’t the best deal for Boston by any means. Well, it’s not even a deal. As things stand now, you’re letting a max player walk for nothing.

Saturday evening saw the Celtics make a couple of different deals – ones that saw players come to Boston, rather than leave it. The Celtics reached agreements with two free agents – Tristan Thompson and Jeff Teague. Teague, a 2015 All-Star, will provide much-needed depth at the point guard position, as he’ll back up Kemba Walker. Then you have Thompson, who’s addition will be a most welcomed one from the Celtics faithful.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports broke the news over the Thompson signing:

Judging by Celtics fans’ reactions on Twitter, Thompson isn’t going to have many enemies as he arrives on the scene at the Garden in December. It was later reported that Thompson would be getting a two-year, $19 million deal from Boston. For $9.5 million per season, it’s decent value.

What Tristan Thompson provides the Boston Celtics

You know exactly what you’re going to be getting with a player like Thompson, who’s averaged over 10.0 rebounds per game over the last two seasons. And, according to ESPN Stats & Info, the last Celtics player to hit double-digits in boards over the course of a single season was Al Jefferson back in the 2006-07 season.

In the modern game having a dominant center on the glass isn’t the most important area to get wins, but, in recent memory, the Celtics have had trouble on the boards from a center-position standpoint. It isn’t their biggest problem, but it’s one that they needed to address in order to be able to make strides towards their goal, and they mean business with the addition of Thompson.

Thompson departs the Cleveland Cavaliers after nine seasons, which included the 2015-16 NBA championship campaign. He’s been an important player over the years for the Cavs and will continue to do the same in Boston. After the departure of Enes Kanter, the Celtics are left with a trio of Daniel Theis, Robert Williams III, and Thompson to cover the five-spot.

Thompson brings the rebounding ability, but he also brings a different, gritty approach to the game. He’s a big who can play very effective defense when he’s locked in, while his toughness on both ends will provide him with the tools necessary to become a perfect fit in Boston.

Although it has been a pretty disappointing start this Celtics’ free agency period, Danny Ainge is making the moves that support the fact that he’s held in such regard within the city of Boston. They’re not going to be blockbuster deals, but fulfilling team needs one by one is how you get over that hump.

This is still a young Boston Celtics team with the best days ahead, a player like Thompson provides assets that are needed on the floor, but also championship-caliber experience which will be most welcomed within the Garden.