Saturday morning thoughts: with Reggie Evans and Mr Bartelstein
After a sudden trade rumor frenzy that shook us all after the long lockout slumber, we are living some quiet days in the free agency period. Partly is due to the fact that communication between all the parties interested cannot be official, and therefore everything is filtered by the famous words of sources say. And like in some vastly decorated game of domino, we are all waiting for the main pieces to fall in order to see the small ones be placed in each part of the game board.
We all know the main characters of these NBA theater play are Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. For the sake of all of us, I hope they are both traded before the season starts to avoid another Carmelo Anthony pathetic circus.
After that it will be the time to know where players such as Tyson Chandler, Nene or Marc Gasol finally go. Unless some bizarre scenario occurs, none of the big free agent names is expected to be a Celtic in the next weeks.
That leaves us with the second tier of free agents: the players willing and able to sign for a contract ranging between the MLE and the veteran minimum number. As you have been able to read in the last few days, the amount of players belonging to this second group is dramatically big.
In the last few days, it seems Danny Ainge and Mark Bartelstein have spent more time together than me and my girlfriend. Or at least, Bartelstein´s number is in Ainge´s favourite friends agenda in his cellphone:
The Celtics also have had conversations about Lakers swingman Shannon Brown, Bobcats center Kwame Brown, and former Celtic Marquis Daniels, whose season was cut short when he suffered a bruised spinal cord in a Feb. 6 collision with Magic guard Gilbert Arenas.
“It’s something we’re talking about,’’ said agent Mark Bartelstein, who represents all three. “We’re having conversations. Nothing’s been decided yet. We’ll kind of see what happens here over the next couple days.
“It’s early, everyone’s just kind of getting their ducks in order. Danny [Ainge] and I talk every day and those are guys that we’re certainly talking about.’’
The Celtics will likely try to find bargains, using the $3 million midlevel exception for teams over the cap.
“I think they’re just seeing what’s out there,’’ said Bartelstein. “Danny’s always very aggressive and he always does a really good job of getting a feel for the market.’’
While I do not have Mr Bartelstein´s number in my agenda, I am predicting that some of these players will likely wear Celtic green in the next days. My guess is that Marquis Daniels will be back to the team. In fact, it seems he never really left us for anybody else. He didn´t even go to Sacramento after the famous trade deadline that left us without centers. Daniels is a very talented player, knows the system and does the little things for our team. He may sign for the minimum as he needs to prove that we can rely on his health.
As for the Brown brothers, I believe Kwame will finally become a Celtic at least but not at last. I think you can feel it. Have you been wondering why TB hasn´t yet written about Michael Olowokandi´s current location and work?. You can´t help by thinking of the second coming of Pervis Ellison to Beantown. You know fate can´t be denied: for some reason or other we end up getting some #1 draft big underachieving player every now and then. The truth is that Kwame is a decent center if you forget what he was supposed to become. Health wise he is more reliable than Joel Przybilla, but his heart and grit is miles away from the toughness of the former Trail Blazer.
I do not expect Shannon Brown to agree to sign with us, but anything is possible. Shannon is a very athletic guard with still some upside but I think he may get a bigger contract with somebody else. That´s what my gut tells me at least.
And while we are left waiting for the last remaining traces of the feared and hated lockout stigma, we are finally able to glimpse a name in the midst of this free agent fog: Reggie Evans. It seems there are big chances for him to be a Celtic:
“I was kind of surprised when they reached out to me,’’ Evans said. “It was an honor, especially with the kind of players they have on their team.’’
“[The Celtics] are a tough-minded team and I am a tough-minded player,’’ said Evans, who was a teammate of Ray Allen’s in Seattle. “I don’t really take too much on the court and they really don’t take too much on the court. So that’s why I used to love to play against them so much because they used to remind me of myself, knowing their competitive nature and they don’t take any plays off. I liked to play against them.’’
“I want to win a title so bad,’’ he said. “I know I’m not getting younger in the league, so I want a chance to win. I want to weigh out all my options because I got the right attitude, I’m not trying to go to a team and start shooting the ball. I just want to see if there’s a need for me out there.’’
What I am reading here is that he is very interested in signing for us, and I also expect Danny to share the same feeling towards Evans, particularly after reading that we are not in Chuck Hayes wish list. As we explored months ago, Reggie would fill a very big need for our team: rebounding. That´s what he does best and he doesn´t get out of his role. It remains to be seen if he will sign for the minimum, as I expect that Danny would rather keep the mini MLE to sign another player or a combination of two low contracts.
Be patient, our roster will soon start to fill up in the next days. Stay tuned.