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The Celtics are in the process of rounding out their roster for the playoff run, and moved in that direction Tuesday with the signing of Mikki Moore. Moore, a 7’0″ forward/center, will help give the Celts some serious muscle.
Then, late Tuesday night, the Celtics began to zero in on disgruntled guard Stephon Marbury. The Knicks reached an agreement on a buyout with Marbury, paving the way for him to sign with the Celtics. If he becomes a free agent as expected Friday, he could sign with Boston the same day and fill out their 15th and final roster spot.
Already without Kevin Garnett (knee) and Brian Scalabrine (neck strain), the Celts were down to just Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe, and Glen “Big Baby” Davis as the only healthy big men. Moore becomes the tallest player on the team and should help in the paint to give Perk his rest.
He played three games with the Celtics in the 2002-03 season, but apparently wasn’t good enough then to stick around. He had a career year with the Nets in 2006 (9.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game) and played well last season with the Kings, so he definitely still has something left at 33.
Starbury has expressed interest in the C’s for several months, and it looks like he may be able to sign with the team as early as Friday. He hasn’t played since the middle of last season, but Danny Ainge seems confident he can play. Lately, Danny’s been right on with his talent judgement, so I’ll trust his decision.
As far as his reputation to kill teams, I think the Celtics are similar to the Patriots in that they can take on troubled players and make it a successful transition. The Patriots brought in Corey Dillon and Randy Moss (among others) in recent years and both turned out to be terrific acquisitions. There’s now a winning culture around the Celtics, so any disgruntled player will know they have to be on best behavior in order to win.
Moore is not going to be what P.J. Brown was for the team last season. He’s a capable big man who lengthens the team and will help on the boards, but he’s not the type of player to hit big shots for the team in the playoffs. Joe Smith would’ve been a nicer option, but he probably won’t get a buyout from the Thunder.
Stephon Marbury could contribute a lot more than Sam Cassell did if (a) he’s in shape, (b) his head’s on straight, (c) he’s focused on winning his first ring, and (d) he’ll get along with Kevin Garnett without getting jealous. It’s possible Marbury could be very successful off the bench for the team. It’s also possible he could be trouble from Day 1, so we will see…
Either way, the Celtics will be better after Moore and Marbury join the team than they were before.