After winning eight of their last nine games before the All-Star break, the Celtics seemed to be primed for a playoff run. Despite losing Rajon Rondo, Leandro Barbosa, and Jared Sullinger for the rest of the season, the remaining players on the C’s roster are playing at a high level and look determined to stay the course without those key pieces. However with only 10 players left on the active roster, it’s on president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to make some sort of move to bolster this team for the upcoming stretch run.
Boston is basically right at the luxury tax threshold, so don’t expect any big name trades or signings. They’re going to have to pull something crazy to bring in the help they need, and nobody knows crazy better than Delonte West.
The Celtics selected West with 24th overall pick in the 2004 draft. He spent three years in Boston, steadily improving to where he averaged 12.2 points, and 4.4 assists in his final season, but there have always been some, ummmmm, offcourt issues.
During a Thursday appearance on WEEI, Ainge responded to questions about West, “You know, Delonte is a player we know better than anyone in the NBA. He’s on the list of guys we are looking at. We have a long list of players and he’s on that list. It’s a difficult thing for players who haven’t played since last April to come in and contribute.” This seems to contradict earlier reports that the C’s would not even consider signing West, but maybe it’s just classical non-committal speech from the grumpy old G.M.
Maybe the C’s ‘know’ Delonte better than anyone else in the NBA, because they witnessed his unique brand of crazy first. I mean we’re talking about a guy who was caught flying down a Marlyand expressway with a shotgun in his guitar case, a player who the Celtics employed in the 2010 playoffs as the terminator of LeBron’s psyche because he ALLEGEDLY banged his mom, and a guy who almost made Gordon ‘babyface’ Hayward lose his shit by giving him a ‘wet willie’ during a 2012 regular season game.
Despite his talents, you have to think twice before bringing somebody this unstable into the locker room. Especially since he mismanaged his money so badly during the lockout that he had to sleep in the Mavericks locker room before the season got underway last year. Delonte could get arrested for doing something ridiculous, provoke a teammate until he gets knocked out in practice, or go after Paul Pierce’s momma, but doesn’t the reward outweigh all that risk?
I mean what are the other options? 38-year-old point guard Derek Fisher and his muff-like lips were released by the Mavericks in December of 2012, so that’s a possibility. At this stage in his career, Fish could likely only serve as a backup or token starter who plays less than 25 minutes a game, and do the Celtics really need another NBA senior citizen in the locker room for ‘leadership’ purposes?
The most likely scenario involves calling up Shelvin Mack, or another guard from Boston’s D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws. Mack has been in and out of the pros all season, and played 64 games for the lowly Washington Wizards last year. He’s leading the developmental league in scoring (19.6 points per game) and could provide a spark for a C’s team that looked offensively inept in their last game against the Bulls.
Whatever they decide, you can rest assured that the core of this Celtics team will not back down from any competition and will not adhere to any talk of “blowing it up” for the sake of rebuilding. This franchise still has a win-now mentality and they play in a market that demands results in the short-term, so it will be interesting to see how Ainge and company approach these challenges during the break.