Celtics Life has learned that 6'9" Bruins captain and Stanley Cup champion Zdeno Chara has been offered a three year contract by the Boston Celtics to fill their big man void. The rugged 34 year old Slovak enforcer should bring a toughness back to the Celtics that was lost after the Kendrick Perkins trade. With Shaq retiring, Nenad Krstic leaving for Moscow, Big Baby possibly leaving, and Jermaine O'Neal electing not to ruin his Summer vacation by having wrist surgery, the Celtics were desperate for a another post player that can withstand the rigors of a full NBA season. Danny Ainge feels he has that player in Chara.
Ainge on the possible signing:
We feel that Zdeno would be a huge boost to our front line. He's tough, a team player, and a leader. Just watching him pass the Stanley Cup around and never once dropping it. Doc and I at the same time said, "This guy has great hands!" We sort of expected Shaq to retire, but I was blown away one morning when I was reading Celtics Life and this writer Bohemian broke the Krstic story. We scrambled to see if we could convince Nenad to stay. We told him that the "Curly" nickname was not meant to be teasing. That the guys loved him, but it was too late. A bidding war in Europe had already started.After the mainstream media left, Celtics Life reporter Rondo Burgundy was able to have a sit down with Danny and who knows the reason. Maybe it was based on Burgundy's uncanny resemblance to the Celtics #9, but Ainge was very candid with his responses.
With Zdeno we'd fulfill one of our goals to get younger this offseason. He's 5 years younger than Shaq! Zdeno is also versatile. Besides being able to play his natural position the 4 spot, in today's NBA we believe he can also give us major minutes at the 5.
While we are still negotiating we did ask Zdeno what number he'd like to wear on the Celtics and he was very familiar with Larry Bird's career and had no desire to ask for #33. He then gave us a list of ten numbers, but unfortunately they are also all retired. We had a nice laugh when I was explaining that #19 was retired and Chara said, "Wait you can get your number retired in Boston for averaging only 10 points and 5 rebounds?" And then I replied, Yeah it's easy to get your number retired here. Wait until my 44 goes up! When it was all said and done, Chara settled on #333. We double checked just to make sure it wasn't retired and we're all set.
Rondo Burgundy: Danny, why did you stop using Just For Men?
Danny Ainge: I don't feel like that is relevant to this contract offer.
R.B. Fair enough. Do you feel that Chara will have as much success switching sports as you did from baseball to basketball?
D.A. Your only asking that, so you can post a pic of me in my baseball uniform aren't you?
R.B. When in Rome. Ok next question. Just between me and you, did the Perk trade work out as you had envisioned?
D.A. Heck no! How was I to know Shaq's foot injury would leave him a complete corpse. I'm a former athlete. Not a doctor. Obviously in the future I won't bet on 39 year old, 400 pound fat guys with bad feet, but that's 20/20 hindsight. Also I was eating breakfast at IHOP this morning and I was thinking wow this French Toast is much less toast than Troy Murphy is. Everyone gave me credit for signing Troy. So you can't really criticize me now. I did predict that Jermaine O'Neal would get injured in the 1st round, so I was stoked that I won that office pool and while the wrist limited the amount of minutes Doc could play J.O. I thought he did a fine job in the playoffs considering.
R.B. What about Jeff Green?
D.A. What about him?
R.B. Were you aware that he had butter fingers prior to the trade?
D.A. Well we did also get a future draft pick.
R.B. Back to Chara. You're taking advantage of the fact that you can just sign Chara outright instead of having to draft him. If he was in this year's draft, where do you think he'd get picked?
D.A. Top 5.
R.B. You say that about every guy you draft. Didn't you just say that about Avery Bradley?
D.A. I know (giggles).
R.B. If Chara performs well for us, will you trade him to the worst team in the league at the deadline for a crappy 2nd rounder like you did Semih?
D.A. I can't really answer that Rondo. No player is untouchable. We like that 2nd rounder. We plan on drafting an undersized power forward with that pick and then saying we had him as a first rounder on our board.
R.B. Any hint as to who you may draft in the 1st round THIS year?
D.A. Best player available.
R.B. So you mean combo guard correct?
D.A. Correct. Have I mentioned that Avery Bradley would be a top 5 pick in this year's draft?
R.B. Yes you did on WEEI. Maybe a few times since then. What are your plans with Big Baby?
D.A. We're expecting he won't get an offer for big money and a starting position from another team and he'll return to Boston pissed. He's definitely not going to get a big offer if he keeps posting workout videos where he's not even working out.
R.B. Do you think it would help Baby's weight problem if he just chose one, either spaghetti or pancakes on game days?
D.A. You think!?
R.B. Good one Danny. Well we know you have to go, but thanks for sitting down with Celtics Life for this interview. We'll be sure to make you look good as always.
D.A. Thanks. What's with the mustache?
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JR 6/19/2011 03:00:00 PM Tweet