Keyon Dooling was a tremendous influence in the Celtics locker room this year…and he will be back for one more go-around. Paul Flannery of WEEI.com broke the news earlier this afternoon that the reserve guard has come to terms with the C’s:
Keyon Dooling has agreed to a one-year deal to return to the Celtics, per a league source.
— Paul Flannery (@Pflanns) July 24, 2012
CH’s Take: My educated guess is that the deal is for the veteran’s minimum, as I’m not sure it would make sense for the C’s to spend the bi-annual exception on a guy like Dooling at this stage of his career.
If that’s the case, another A+ for Ainge and company with this deal. Dooling is probably as good as you are going to do, talent-wise, at the veteran’s minimum at this point. After a very slow start to the season, sidetracked primarily by a hip issue, the veteran guard found his stride in the postseason and hit 39.3 percent of his 3-pointers from downtown during Boston’s run to the Eastern Conference finals.
Dooling also provided Boston with some aggressive defense and energy off the bench, allowing Rajon Rondo to earn some crucial rest at junctures. Dooling outperformed himself off the court as well, serving as a tremendously well-respected influence inside a very veteran-heavy C’s locker room, giving it the kind of stability it had lacked in previous seasons by a member of the second unit. His voice was compared to that of a preacher’s by Brandon Bass, so I think that speaks for itself.
Roster-wise the Celtics are just about close to done at this juncture, as they have given themselves a significant depth in the backcourt with this move, with Avery Bradley sidelined for the first couple months. Once Bradley returns, minutes will come at a premium for Dooling, but that’s probably a good thing for the C’s at this stage in his career. Here’s a quick look at the depth chart as it currently stands for Boston. Competition between Kris Joseph, Dionte Christmas, and Jamar Smith for the final roster spot will be extremely tight in training camp:
PG:Rondo, Terry, Dooling
SG: Bradley, Lee, Christmas (Smith)
SF: Pierce, Green, Joseph
PF: Bass, Wilcox, Sullinger
C: Garnett, Collins, Melo
Other unsigned free agents: Marquis Daniels, Mickael Pietrus, Jermaine O’Neal (ha)
With this move, Pietrus seems unlikely to return, while Daniels could force out Christmas or Joseph if he is brought back. All in all though, you are likely looking at close to the final roster for Boston next season.