National Basketball Association News
Celtics putting finishing touches on roster
By Warren Blatt Aug 14, 2007, 17:05 GMT
- All-Stars Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are not the only players on Boston's roster, and that trio will need some help if the Celtics hope to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1987.
Guards Tony Allen, Rajon Rondo, forward Brian Scalabrine and center Kendrick Perkins were the significant players left on the roster after Boston's executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge pulled off the blockbuster deal with Minnesota for Garnett. Since trading Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, cash considerations and two first-round draft picks to the Timberwolves on July 31st, Ainge has added veterans Scot Pollard and Eddie House through free agency.
The 32-year-old Pollard will be entering his 11th season in the league. Boston is his fifth different team, as Pollard has also played for Detroit, Sacramento, Indiana and Cleveland. Pollard is not expected to make an impact on the offensive end of the court, as his forte is rebounding and tough, physical defense.
House, 29, is being tabbed to provide an offensive spark off the bench for head coach Doc Rivers. The 6-1 House can play both guard spots, and will give Rivers some flexibility with his lineup. House, who averaged 8.4 points in 56 games last season for New Jersey, will be playing for his eighth different club during what will be his eighth season in the NBA.
With Pollard and House in the fold, Ainge still needs to find more help for his trio of All-Stars. Trades are unlikely. Help is going to have to come from the free agent pool.
There is not much left, but there are some veterans who would probably like to jump on the bandwagon for a run at an NBA title. Boston needs to find another big man to help on the boards. That is probably the one thing the Celtics are lacking. Scoring is not an issue.
Forwards Malik Allen, Melvin Ely and Marc Jackson are three names Ainge should be considering. None of these players are going to be the difference between winning a title and getting knocked out in the Eastern Conference finals, but they are all veterans who can bang down low and should be able to help Garnett, Perkins and Pollard on the glass.
The time to win is now in Beantown. The Celtics are not looking to get younger. Ainge wants to add role players who will help the fearsome threesome earn Boston its first NBA championship since it defeated the Houston Rockets in six games in the 1986 finals.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
It seemed like the perfect fit. Veteran point guard Brevin Knight, who was waived by Charlotte during the offseason, was an unrestricted free agent and would have been a great mentor for Rondo in Boston.
Knight is now off the market. He inked a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, who must be worried about the recovery of Shaun Livingston's injured knee. The 5-10 Knight averaged 9.1 points, 6.6 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 45 games for the Bobcats in 2006-07.
The 21-year-old Rondo averaged 6.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 78 games during his rookie campaign. Rondo, who is expected to run the point for the Celtics, would have benefited from the experience and leadership of Knight.
THREE MORE YEARS
Pat Riley would like to coach the Miami Heat for three more seasons. Coincidentally, that is probably about what All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal's knees have left to give. The 35-year-old O'Neal played just 40 games in 2006-07 for the Heat, who were swept by Chicago in the first round of the playoffs.
Shaq and Dwyane Wade may still have another magical run left in them, but it will all ride on the health of O'Neal. Riley, who has earned five rings as a head coach, obviously thinks Wade, who led Miami in scoring, a franchise- record 27.4 points per game, assists (7.5 apg) and steals (2.1 spg), and his monstrous center can still compete with Boston, Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago.
© 2007 The Sports Network