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Delonte West has played a big part in Celtics success the last few years — without ever playing a game for the team. He was the key part of a Summer 2007 deal that sent him, Wally Szczerbiak, and No. 5 pick Jeff Green to the then-Seattle Supersonics for Ray Allen and Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis, two key members of the Celtics NBA Championship team.
West, a former Cavalier, also allegedly helped the Celtics in a very different way. Many suspected that LeBron James quit during the end of the Cavs-Celtics series in the 2010 playoffs because he found out that West had slept with his mom, Gloria James. Whether or not this is true, it’s an absurdly hot Internet rumor that’s never really been denied. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire my friends.
Now, West gets a chance to help his old team, as Danny Ainge confirmed the guard has agreed to sign a contract with the Celtics. The team only features three players (by my count) that were on the Celtics before the 2007 trade (Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Kendrick Perkins), but according to Danny Ainge, those old teammates lobbied for the GM to take a look at West.
“There’s a familiarity with the roster and a familiarity with the players,” said Ainge. “Paul [Pierce] and Rajon [Rondo], especially, were big fans having played with him. I’m a fan of Delonte.”
The team was originally rumored to be interested in West in July.
If West makes the team, he must first serve a 10-game suspension after a guilty plea on weapons charges in the state of Maryland in July. He has a history of strange off-the-court issues, and suffers from bipolar disorder. If he can get his head straight, he should be a valuable asset when he’s eligible to return in home game against the Washington Wizards on Nov. 11.
West is another low-risk, high-reward signing for the Celtics. He can play both point guard and shooting guard, has a 44% career field goal percentage, can hit threes, play solid defense, and has good size (6’4″) for his position.
So what if West missed the first 10 games? The Celtics can more than make up for his absence, and really don’t need him in October anyway. West will be valuable over the second half of the season while Doc Rivers looks for ways to rest Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and maybe even Rajon Rondo.
As long as West can stay away from players’ moms or Doc Rivers’ wife, then I think Danny Ainge and Celtics made another smart investment this offseason.