July 31st was a busy day concerning roster moves and rumors surrounding current, past and potential future Celtic players. Let’s take a look at the days’ happenings and try to make sense of it all.
Move #1: Gabe Pruitt will not have his contract option picked up and thus will be waived by the Celtics this evening
The Boston Herald broke the news that most people expected late this afternoon that the Celtics will be letting go the 2nd year guard out of USC. Here’s a blurb from the Herald story:
The Celtics had until tomorrow to pick up the option on the final year of his contract worth approximately $900,000, but declined. Pruitt, a highly skilled point guard from USC, never managed to crack Doc Rivers’ rotation – in part because the C’s coach often questioned Pruitt’s aggressiveness.
Pruitt also upset members of management in February when he was arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles the night after the team signed Stephon Marbury as a back-up point guard. But Pruitt impressed coaches with a relatively strong performance in the Orlando Summer League earlier this month.
CH’s Take: The Gabe Pruitt era never really got off the ground in Boston and he was a victim of a crowded roster in this case more than anything else. The guy showed brief flashes in green but his missteps (DUI arrest) and lack of floor time and consistency made this likely an easy decision to make for the Celtics brass. The lack of a non-guaranteed contract surely came into play as well with the move.
With Pruitt gone, the Celtics roster situation is starting to come into focus a bit more, although there will be many more moves to be made before all is sad and done. Let’s take a look at how the team’s depth chart looks after this move:
PG: Rondo/veteran FA/Hudson?
SG: Allen/House/Tony Allen
That makes 12 roster spots out (13 if you include Lester Hudson, but he is no sure thing to make the team) taken up so far. The team as composed has two glaring needs, one being a backup PG and a second in the form of another big man. Big Baby is the odds on favorite to come back and claim a backup PF spot but the point guard position right now is obviously very up in the air.
With the lack of roster space and the uncertainty surrounding whether Gabe Pruitt could be a regular contributor as a backup point off the bench this year for the team, the move is understandable. Ainge in all likelihood would be bringing in a veteran PG, with or without Pruitt on the roster to mesh with an upgraded bench. Given that, there was no need to waste 900k on the slim chance that Pruitt would beat out the veteran PG for the backup spot off the bench when they had limited roster spots to play with as is.
For now, the team’s focus will be picking the right point guard to bring in to work with the revamped bench. I discussed some potential options earlier this week as did fellow columnist Brendan Jackson. It will be interesting to see who the team has on its radar with a variety of options out there.
Move #2: The Milwaukee Bucks waive Bruce Bowen
Once again this was a move that was expected to be made since it had been well documented how there would be two million dollars in savings for the Bucks if the small forward was waived before August 1st. Our friends over at Celticsblog have touched upon rumors regarding a return to Boston by the defensive specialist but it’s evident a couple things would have to happen before that would be a possibility.
First, the Celtics would need to clear some more roster space and glut at the SF position. With the acquisition of Daniels, the depth chart at the position is fairly deep with the multi-talented Daniels, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens rounding up the bench for the 3 spot.
The addition of Bruce Bowen would only seem to make sense if the crowd at the position would be broken up. That could be done in two ways.
1) The trading of Walker and/or Giddens
2) The shifting of Marquis Daniels to be the primary backup PG
The 2nd option is the more intriguing but unlikely option to me. Daniels has shown the capability to play point throughout his career, but his time at the spot has been limited the past couple seasons in Indiana. With a lackluster guard market out there, it will be intriguing to see if Doc Rivers would want Daniels to perform some duties at the 1 with the bench if the team were to acquire Bowen. I would love to hear what everyone else thinks on this one.
Some thoughts on the Leon rumors after the jump.
Rounding up the Celtics news of the day, word has come in from Brian Windhurst and ESPN’s David Aldridge that many teams’ pursuit of Leon Powe is heating up. At this point, the Cavs look like the favorities with the Magic, Mavericks and Lakers also showing interest for the former Celtic whose recovery is reportedly ahead of schedule.
I can’t be surprised by any of these developments and in fact it is sickening to think of Leon suiting up for one of those said teams against the Celtics come playoff time. Powe has shown his playoff prowess before and I can’t help but have the gut feeling that the guy will come back and hurt us down the line in a big series if he signs with an enemy.
I know it’s a business and the Celtics had limited roster spots, but having Leon as an ace up the team’s sleeve come the All-Star break would have been a tremendous asset. Instead, having to worry about one of our rivals holding that card has to be discouraging to all Celtics fans out there.