Celtics Should Avoid Signing Otto Porter Jr. After Expected Buyout

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The Boston Celtics still have a vacant roster spot along with their league-best 46-12 record, lethal offense and No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

After the team acquired Xavier Tillman and Jaden Springer and departed from Dalano Banton, Lamar Stevens, the door was opened for a last-minute addition before the playoffs. However, the front office — if exploring the buyout market — would be working with the limitation of not being able to sign anyone earning north of the $12.4 million non-taxpayer midlevel.

That rules the Celtics out as suitors for candidates like Marcus Morris Sr. and Joe Harris, but it doesn’t prevent Boston from getting something done before the March 1 deadline. Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens could fill the 15th and final bench spot, however, presumed soon-to-be free agent forward Otto Porter Jr. shouldn’t be on Boston’s radar.

Porter, 30, landed with the Utah Jazz in a trade deadline swap with the Toronto Raptors, but is expected to be bought out, according to Evan Sidery of Forbes. Porter hasn’t joined the Jazz since being traded, instead remaining home before both sides work out an agreement to send him to free agency.

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He’s one of the last remaining notable options for playoff contenders like the Celtics to choose from. In a similarly limited situation like the Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks — who also can’t go over the non-taxpayer midlevel — Boston and Porter match from a dollars perspective, but that’s it. Aside from earning $6.3 million as an impending free agent, Porter doesn’t have much to offer the Celtics.

Porter’s last notable gig was as a reserve unit veteran for the Golden State Warriors, who defeated the Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals. Since then, Porter’s proceeded to play just 23 games in the last two seasons, dealing with a handful of injuries.

Playing in just 15 games this season with Toronto, Porter averaged 2.6 points and 1.9 rebounds while shooting 42.2% from the field. The stat line isn’t the primary factor to follow when considering who would fill your final roster spot, but the case for Porter joining Boston isn’t strong either — especially when Boston could allocate that seat for a former friend of the program.

Blake Griffin has been at the forefront of desired additions based on the noise coming from the Celtics locker room.

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“I don’t know (if he’s coming back). We begged him too,” ex-teammate Payton Pritchard told Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast.

Griffin played one lone season with the Celtics, primarily used for leadership purposes, but left a lasting impression. He even gave Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla some valuable minutes off the bench from time to time, scoring in double figures four times through his first three months with the team.

There’s value to consider from a team chemistry perspective, and it’s evident through the offer still extended from the Celtics likely sitting on Griffin’s table. Not many teams have the added bonus of being able to add a likable and serviceable respected longtime veteran with previous ties to the team.

Isaiah Thomas, another ex-Celtic, has also watched Boston’s stellar season unfold from afar, offering up his services to the team before the playoffs.

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Whoever the Celtics are eyeing, the front office is on the clock.

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