SALT LAKE CITY — The Celtics acquired one player at the trade deadline, another via a 10-day contact, and soon will sign yet another to a 10-day contract.
But president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the Celtics are still looking to add another player to eventually fill the roster out to 15 players, the NBA maximum.
It’s not an easy search. Many of the players who could contribute to the Celtics are already locked up in contracts elsewhere.
“There’s a lot of different types of talent [out there], but there’s a reason they’re not on an NBA roster,” Ainge said Monday night before the Celtics beat the Jazz, 110-107, in overtime at EnergySolutions Arena.
The Celtics gained guard Jordan Crawford in a trade with Washington, and signed guard/forward Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract last week.
The team also plans to sign 6-foot-9-inch center D.J. White to a 10-day contract, but his paperwork still hadn’t been processed by tipoff.
White most recently played in China and requires a letter of clearance from the Chinese Basketball Association before he can sign with an NBA team.
Williams has been impressive in two short spurts, but his 10-day contract isn’t up until March 1 and Ainge said he has until that date to make a decision about whether to sign Williams to another 10-day contract.
Williams worked out with the Celtics during the summer and Ainge said it was clear then that the 6-6 former Louisville standout could play point guard.
Ainge said he’ll monitor which players are bought out of their contracts in the coming weeks to see if any veteran players are available.
“We really don’t have to decide until the day before the playoffs start,” Ainge said.
“If there’s somebody that we know, we’ll sign him to the rest of the year.
“There are a lot of guys that can contribute, but the difference between one and another is not great enough to just be able to say, ‘He’s the guy.’ ”
Though the Celtics, who lost in Portland, 92-86, Sunday night, are short on their front line, rookie center Fab Melo, who is with the team, hasn’t been asked to fill in, nor has he seen an increase in minutes.
Ainge said when the Celtics get back to Boston and they get a full roster, they’ll consider sending Melo back to their Development League team, the Maine Red Claws, so that Melo can get some in-game experience, which is what Ainge said he needs most of all.
“Fab picked up basketball late,” Ainge said.
“He played two years of zone [at Syracuse]. He was very good at it by his second year, but he’s got to learn the man-to-man principles and things haven’t come naturally to him because he just hasn’t done it.
“But he is making progress on all that.”
Doing the math
The Celtics had a Big Three in Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, but with Rondo out for the season with a knee injury, that third position has been vacant.
“We don’t know who that guy is going to be” on a nightly basis, coach Doc Rivers said.
Jeff Green has filled the role occasionally. Courtney Lee and Jason Terry have taken turns as the third wheel.
“And you don’t have to do it offensively every night,” Rivers pointed out. “You can have a great impact on the game and do it in a way other than offense.
“I think Avery [Bradley] understands that more than anybody on our team. He knows that he can have a defensive impact on the game that’s far more important than anybody’s points — and he does it most nights.”
Baxter Holmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.