Replacing Green will be inside job
Rivers looking for help from Daniels, Pavlovic
TORONTO - Now that the Celtics know Jeff Green will not return this season because of a heart ailment, coach Doc Rivers said the team will move forward with parts from the current roster.
Green would have served mostly in a reserve role up front, and Rivers said Friday night he will rely on Marquis Daniels and Sasha Pavlovic to fill that role for the time being.
Daniels is finally healthy after having surgery to repair his spine following a series of stingers and a scary incident last February against Orlando that left him temporarily paralyzed after a collision with Gilbert Arenas.
Pavlovic was signed to a one-year deal last week and the Celtics believe he can make a significant impact if he plays more aggressively. Rivers said earlier in the week that Pavlovic’s biggest obstacle is confidence and he has spent time providing encouragement.
Green averaged 9.8 points per game last season and likely would have produced more as his comfort level with the team’s offense increased. But Rivers said the Daniels-Pavlovic duo doesn’t need to replace Green’s offensive contributions. Brandon Bass can provide a majority of the scoring for the second unit.
“That’s not a hard one,’’ Rivers said. “I think Brandon’s going to give offense from the [power forward] spot. We’re going to get some offense from that spot if Marquis can post the way we think he can. Brandon and Keyon [Dooling] will give us offense from that spot and maybe some other guys just by making plays.’’
The Celtics could look outside the organization for potential replacements, but they only have the league minimum to offer. Even with Green’s $9 million salary voided, the Celtics are still over the salary cap, limiting their opportunities to chase quality free agents.
An intriguing possibility is former Celtics James Posey, who was waived by the Pacers through the amnesty clause. Posey played with the Celtics for just one season but was a key component off the bench in the team’s title run in 2008.
O’Neal stepping up
Rivers said Jermaine O’Neal continues to be the most impressive player in camp. The veteran center was offered to the Hornets in the David West deal but that fell through and the Celtics appear to have a rejuvenated player on their hands.
“If we had an MVP trophy for camp, I think he would win it,’’ Rivers said. “He’s been phenomenal throughout camp, really wonderful.
“He’s really bought in defensively; he really knows where to be all the time. And now he’s become a talker and that’s one of the things Kevin [Garnett] and [Kendrick Perkins] and [Glen Davis] had and Jermaine was new to it. We didn’t have that a lot last year. It’s good that Jermaine got it.’’
The club took the day off yesterday on the court but watched film in preparation for today’s preseason game against the Raptors in Toronto. The Raptors come to TD Garden for the preseason finale Wednesday night . . . Paul Pierce (sore right heel) will not play today but is expected to return Wednesday. Garnett, who injured his right thumb in practice Thursday, is questionable . . . Rivers said Avery Bradley, Pavlovic, Daniels, and E’Twaun Moore will be competing for minutes to back up Ray Allen. “There’s a spot there and all of [them] aren’t going to play it, so it makes for a competitive camp.’’
Gary Washburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.