HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Surely we can all agree that Miami will be the epicenter of the basketball universe when training camps open one month (and a day) from now.
There’s been too much made about the team the Heat will field this season for there to be any reasonable alternative.
But if there is a more robust or more diverse group of characters in one locker room than the crew Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers have assembled in Boston this summer, we need to see them here at the hideout.
You start with a base of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. And who can forget Shrek (Big Baby Davis) and Donkey (Nate Robinson)?
Adding Shaquille O’Neal always kicks the flavor up a notch. And now comes news that Ainge is giving Delonte West another tour with the Celtics, and kudos to Ainge for admitting how tough it was to part ways with West before (it’s rare for a league exec to admit such a thing publicly). Here’s Ainge talking about West to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:
“Delonte has been one of my favorite players that I enjoyed watching in my time here with the Celtics,” Ainge. “He is a competitor and we’re all aware and we’ve done a lot of checks and had a lot of conversation with Delonte and his people and we obviously have a long history with Delonte also and we think he can help us win.”
The Celtics’ summer work proves that they do not plan on ceding their position atop the Eastern Conference to the Heat, Magic, Bulls or anyone else that fancies themselves a contender for their crown.
And it’s never been about just one signing, but more a steady accumulation of assorted talent that began with adding Jermaine O’Neal to help fortify their frontline (with Kendrick Perkins out with an injury and Rasheed Wallace retiring) and now the return of West, one of three of the Celtics’ first round draft picks in 2004.
West’s job will be to back up Pierce, a job he should have no problem handling since he’s always been able to guard bigger players. He’ll also have to prove that he’s working through the issues that have dogged him throughout his career — he’ll start the season serving a 10-game suspension for a gun possession charge in Maryland last season, and the rumors of a rift between he and LeBron James in Cleveland last year have never been confirmed but remain prevalent.
From a pure basketball standpoint, though, West seems like an ideal fit. He’s familiar with the Celtics system and has played effectively for Rivers before.
And ultimately it’s Rivers, who has worked wonders since the Big Three was formed and we suspect he’ll do more of the same with his current group, that has to make sure this works. And he seems confident that it will, per the Globe:
“I think we’re getting Delonte at a good time in his life,’’ said Rivers. “He knows who he is now. Delonte can play basketball. We know that. He brings a great toughness. That’s one of the reasons I have always loved him, because of his toughness.
“The whole chemistry thing, one of the reasons we got him, we think we can make it work. But it’s a concern. It always is. It’s a delicate balance, chemistry.’’
On a team loaded with as many characters as the Celtics will trot out onto the floor this season, there isn’t a more delicate chemistry in need of balancing in the league.
As long as Rivers id doing the balancing, we like it!