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Robb: Under The Radar Celtics Free Agent Targets

BOSTON (CBS) – While most of Boston will have their sights set on the fate of Kevin Durant in the first week of free agency, the reports about the superstar forward do not look promising. ESPN's Marc Spears indicated a friend of Durant told him on Thursday that there was a 90 percent chance Durant is returning to the Thunder after he goes through the pitch process.

Those odds signal the Celtics are likely to have to wait on Durant for another summer in order to land their prized target. What should they do in the meantime though? Here are a few under the radar names to keep an eye on if the Celtics miss out on the top dogs in free agency.

Ian Mahinmi (C, Indiana Pacers)

The 29-year-old ran away with the starting job in Indiana last season after Larry Bird dumped Roy Hibbert on the Lakers. He doesn't have the outside scoring touch that the Celtics would seek in a big man, but he'd provide a strong uptick in defense and screening abilities in the frontcourt. He's also very efficient with his shot attempts, hitting 59 percent of his field goal attempts.

Ian Mahinmi
Ian Mahinmi. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

If the Celtics don't want to invest big money into Jared Sullinger, Mahinmi could be a solid alternative in the middle.

Joe Johnson (SG, Miami Heat)

Could Johnson's career come full circle at age 34? Nearly 15 years after being traded for Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk by Boston during his rookie season, Johnson is looking for a new team in free agency. Evan Turner may be on his way out if he gets a big offer and Johnson is the kind of veteran that could fill in his scoring ability off Boston's bench.

Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

It's unclear whether Johnson will be willing to accept a bench role at this point in his career, but the Celtics could be a candidate to give him a short-term deal at big money to help them fill that void.

Andrew Nicholson (PF, Orlando Magic)

The Celtics are in desperate need of a couple more stretch bigs that can hit the 3-ball and Nicholson is potentially a bargain candidate on that front. He shot 36 percent from deep last season despite playing only 15 minute a game for a deep Magic team.

Andrew Nicholson
Andrew Nicholson. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

He'll be looking to rebuild his value and Boston's pace and space offense could be a good model for him to do it with.

Cole Aldrich (C, Los Angeles Clippers)

Rebounding was an issue for the Celtics for most of last season, especially on the defensive end of the floor. That problem will become very magnified if Jared Sullinger, a top-15 NBA rebounder departs this offseason. If so, Aldrich has the kind of ability to provide that support in the middle for Boston.

Cole Aldrich
Cole Aldrich. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

He played well in stretches off the Clippers bench last year and his offensive game continues to progress. On a short term deal, he could be a nice fit, as long as his market does not get too expensive for Boston.

Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.

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