Upon confirming the C’s will be signing Delonte West to a deal this afternoon, Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge spoke with the media this afternoon about the signing and other concerns relating to the team. Our man over at ESPNBoston.com. Chris Forsberg has us covered with the latest the C’s top dog had to say on West, training camp, and the rest of the roster.
On Trading Delonte West in 2007:
“He was one of the toughest guys for me to trade, I’d do it again, of course, but we really liked Delonte when he was here. Even though we knew the issues and the challenges he needed to take care of, we also think Delonte is in a better place today than he was the day he left. He wasn’t perfect, but we still liked the player.”
On Team’s Familiarity with West:
“There’s a familiarity with the roster and a familiarity with the players, Paul [Pierce] and Rajon [Rondo], especially, were big fans having played with him. I’m a fan of Delonte.”
On Training Camp Plans:
“When I played for the Celtics, we never went away… It’s a long season, guys can sleep in their own beds.”
On Prospects of Tony Gaffney and Oliver Lafayette of Making The Roster:
“We’ll keep the best players.”
A couple other key notes from Forsberg’s column include the admission that Ainge wouldn’t close the door on making any more moves before the start of the season. Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe also got Ainge to open up about the team considering West’s past before breaking him in:
“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.”
“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.”
I’ll have a full post analyzing Delonte later tonight, but it’s hard to argue with Ainge’s analysis here. The guy was one of the few bright spots this team had this decade before The Big Three Era. Danny is clearing putting all his eggs in one basket here for this year before the start of a potential Heat dynasty, and given the team’s history with West, they clearly have a much better sense of familiarity with him that enabled them to take a chance on bringing him in.
Most of West’s serious off-court problems surfaced after he left Boston, so hopefully this return brings a sense of stability back to his life as well as a chance to start fresh.