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2015 NBA free agency: Van Gundy wants Joel Anthony back

Van Gundy will be looking for two backup centers in free agency this year. One of which he hopes is Joel Anthony.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 NBA free agency period kicks off at midnight Wednesday. One of the Pistons areas of need is backup center. In 2014-15, Greg Monroe was the primary backup center behind Andre Drummond. Monroe is very likely gone. The third string backup was Joel Anthony and Van Gundy wants to bring him back.

Anthony came to the Pistons via a preseason trade with the Boston Celtics in exchange for Will Bynum. The trade was in response to Aaron Gray, who was signed in the off season, being medically ruled out for the season due to heart complications. In very limited time, Anthony won over Pistons fans.

Anthony is 32 years old, but still has some tread on the tires. While his offensive game is quite limited, it's the defensive end that he is needed the most. And it isn't just on the court, but to help Drummond become a terrifying defender down low. In a Per36 sense, Anthony had his best season last year for the Pistons. He had career Per36 highs in points, blocks, rebounds and field goal percentage. However, he also played the second fewest minutes of his career last year and Van Gundy does not want to tire him out.

There are 25 free agent centers (according to the free agent tracker). Eight of those are restricted. Of those unrestricted, six are 30 years or older. Since Van Gundy prefers to go after unrestricted free agents first, and he wants them to be young (not sure of his definition of young, just setting it under 30), that means there are likely 11 free agent centers that played last year that Van Gundy could go after, not including those from the D-League or who have been out of the league, overseas, etc.

Those 11 are:

  • Alexis Ajinca - 5 years experience, 27 years old
  • Cole Aldrich - 5 years experience, 26 years old
  • Omer Asik - 5 years experience, 29 years old
  • Roy Hibbert - 7 years experience, 28 years old
  • DeAndre Jordan - 7 years experience, 26 years old
  • Kosta Koufos - 7 years experience, 26 years old
  • Brook Lopez - 7 years experience, 27 years old
  • Robin Lopez - 7 years experience, 27 years old
  • Greg Monroe - 5 years experience, 25 years old
  • Timofy Mozgov - 5 years experience, 28 years old
  • Greg Stiemsma - 4 years experience, 29 years old

Off that list, who can we eliminate? Well, you can very likely remove Monroe as previously stated. The Cavaliers just picked up Mozgov's option. It is reported that Hibbert is going to opt in with the Pacers. Jordan will either stay with the Clippers or want to start. Brook Lopez would very likely want to start.

That leaves Ajinca, Aldrich, Asik (who may also want to start), Koufos, Robin Lopez (who may also want to start) and Stiemsma as the only likely players Van Gundy makes a move at in free agency. However, you cannot rule out undrafted players from this past draft, or players who have been stashed overseas or been playing in the D-League.

Anthony has been made aware that it would likely be a shared No. 2 center position, and he understands.

"I’m really hoping we can keep Joel here," he said. "We can’t negotiate with him yet, but I do think he knows. I talked to him yesterday again. We’ve told him consistently we would like to have him back here."

"We’re going to sign another guy and then we’ll go from there," he said. "Joel, he’s far from being done, but he’s getting up there in years and we would like to sign a younger guy there, too, and he’s been made aware of that. He understands."

Who do you want DBB faithful as the second/third string center? How do you feel about Joel Anthony being retained? Let us know in the comments.