Smoke Turns to Fire: Celtics Signing West

The Boston Herald is reporting that the Celtics are set to sign Delonte West to a non guaranteed contract.
According to a source, West will sign a non-guaranteed contract and will be on hand when the team begins camp this fall.
Since the contract is non-guaranteed, that puts Delonte on the same footing as Tony Gaffney and Oliver Lafayette going into camp.  Each will be on a non-guaranteed contract and each will be fighting for that 15th spot on the team.   I'd say that it will come down to either Delonte or Gaffney.  Delonte brings toughness and defense that would fill Tony's vacated role.  But, there are a lot of questions about his mental state after several problems last season, one of which will result in a 10 game suspension to start the season because of a weapon's charge.

  I loved Delonte when he was with the team the first time.  I love his sense of humor and he was a tough player who played all out when on the floor.  I'm not sure that he is what the team needs right now, however.  A lot will depend on how Quisy and Wafer do as backups to Pierce.    Delonte will have to earn his spot in training camp and if he does, I'll be fine with signing him.

UPDATE & Danny Ainge's statement after the Jump. 

Danny Ainge confirmed the signing to the Globe and had this to say about Delonte and his decision to bring him back to the Celtics.
"Delonte has been one of my favorite players that I enjoyed watching in my time here with the Celtics," Ainge told the Globe. "He is a competitor and we're all aware (of his issues) 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."

"It was difficult when we traded Delonte," Ainge said. "It wasn't easy. We liked him. He was well-received by our fans, by our coaches and well-received by our teammates because he's a guy who gives all he's got every night. Delonte's had some challenges off the court and I feel that right now that some of those challenges have given him some pretty serious wake-up calls. I think he's actually in a better place today than when he left us a few years ago."
The contract is reported to be a non-guaranteed, make good contract that will become fully guaranteed if he is still on the roster in January. The contract is likely for the veteran minimum, which for a sixth-year player is little more than $1 million.    If it's a one-year vet minimum contract, the league will pay a portion of that salary, so the Celtics will only be be paying out $854,000. Seems to me to be a low risk, high reward deal.  

In case you have forgotten how much fun Delonte is to have around, here's a couple reminders.

And, of course, who can forget the infamous Valentine's interview? Here are a couple of quotes, in case you have forgotten:
"I did a few romantic things in my day, but I'm not the world's most romantic guy. But I can tell you what I would consider a special night. First, at my lady's work, I would send her a card giving her instructions for the night. Send it to her about midday, so the rest of the day, she has time to think about exactly what I had planned. I would pick my date up. She wouldn't know where we were going. It's got to be a hot day, so I can drop the top in my SL [Mercedes]. I've got the white SL 500. I would tell her, she would have to wear white. She must have on a white dress, because I'm going to have on white. I'd have told her in the note, she has to wear her hair a certain way, just the way I like it. So, I pick her up in my white convertible. From there, I'd have the music pumping on the radio. The Jim Jones pumping, you know, 'Summer in Miami' song pumping. Got to keep a little gangsta, you can't be too soft. You can't be in there playing some guy that's crying, talking about don't leave me and love me baby, wah wah and all that. So Jim Jones pumping and then from there, wind blowing through the hair, boom, we get straight to the point -- we eat afterwards because I don't want to kiss no onions. I don't want to kiss you tasting like onions and steak and mushrooms and everything."

"One more thing: When we're on the yacht eating, we're going to have some Popeyes chicken. That's for dinner. It's to let her know, put a mental image on her mind, first and foremost, if you ain't from the hood, you don't like Popeyes chicken. Everyone there loves Popeyes chicken and the biscuits -- phew. But that's just getting it on her mind, saying, you know, 'Yeah, I can wine and dine you, but I'm a little rough around the edges and I'm keeping it real with you. I can be romantic, but this is real, we're going to eat some chicken tonight. Chicken and biscuits.'"
Delonte's play was never a problem.  He has always been a tough competitor and a good defender and scorer.   The question is the baggage he brings with him because of the problems he has had with depression.  If he can get his condition stabilized with medication, he can help the Celtics.  Maybe all he needs is to be back in a stable environment where they don't cater and kowtow to a moody player with an allegedly promiscuous mother.    He brings toughness.  He knows the system.  He can play.  Now he needs to prove it.