The Celtics should release Von Wafer.
This has nothing to do with Wafer’s dustup with the returning Delonte West, who will suit up Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards. Nor does it have anything to do with Wafer’s play – he’s hardly had enough run to make an impression one way or another.
The Celtics should release Wafer because Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal can’t stay healthy.
Which hardly seems fair, I know.
After all – Wafer isn’t four hundred years old (Shaq), with failing knees (Shaq, Jermaine), a ring of fat around his belly (Shaq), questionable conditioning (Jermaine), a balky jumpshot (Jermaine) and an inability to hit free throws (Shaq). And it’s not like he’s costing the Celtics much, with his partially-guaranteed veteran minimum contract. It’s not like Danny Ainge spent the full freaking midlevel on him only to find he left whatever little lift he had back in South Beach. Or Toronto. Or Indiana.
Still, Wafer has to go.
Because with Shaq and JO unsure bets to play on any given night, the Celtics prime concern should be bridging time until Kendrick Perkins returns in January or February. And they’re running out of capable big men to do it.
If the Celtics replace Wafer with (preferably) a legitimate backup center floating around the the NBA periphery (Erick Dampier, perhaps) or a project big who could suck up some minutes and pull down a few offensive boards (Tiny Gallon, Stephane Lasme), Doc Rivers can keep Big Ticket and Ticket Stub fresh for when the games really count.
Plus, signing Dampier would have the secondary effect of keeping him away from Miami – which reportedly still has interest.
(It should be noted here that I don’t have a lot of confidence in Luke Harangody’s ability to defend his position at the NBA level. I’d be happy to be proven wrong).
Still not convinced?
Then have a look at the backcourt.
With West returning, the Celtics have four guards who can provide solid minutes. Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen will go for about 35 or so each. That leaves around 26 minutes per game unassigned in the backcourt, easily swallowed up by West and the increasingly productive Nate Robinson. And don’t we want to invest some minutes in Avery Bradley at some point?
The only conceivable reasons to have Wafer on this roster are if you think he can be the third wheel behind Paul Pierce/Marquis Daniels at the 3 spot. Or if you want to hedge against ‘Quis getting injured (admittedly – that’s not much of a stretch).
However, Wafer is 6’5” with questionable defensive credentials. Not exactly a Lebron-stopper.
So I ask you, voices of Celtics Nation… do you still crave the Wafer, or is it time to move onto something more fulfilling?