I have been waiting for this day since draft day 2007. The day that Danny Ainge, in his infinite wisdom (seriously…) traded my favorite modern day Celtic away for quite possibly my favorite all-around basketball player since Larry Bird, Ray Allen. Today marks the return of Delonte West, #13, to my Boston Celtics.
I have never stopped hoping he would return. And continued to be a fan of his regardless of the team he played for, always not so secretly hoping the C’s would bring him home again. And today, my wish was granted.
This post season, the need for a shooting guard backup for Ray Allen became painfully evident when Tony Allen decided to jump ship. On top of his ability to connect from downtown and provide a perimeter presence while Sugar Ray takes a breather, West also fills the defensive gap left behind by Tony Allen.
West was and remains a lockdown defender who sacrifices life and limb for the pursuit of the loose ball. This characteristic was one that endeared him to Celtics fans on his first stay in Boston, and will be what brings him back in the fold.
He will, if he is healthy, provide a great buffer and common thread for the larger egos on the team. He has played with Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo as a Celtic and Shaq as a Cavalier. With these personalities and egos, along with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett due to come together this off-season, having a player with experience playing with both sides in both systems could prove to be an extremely useful tool for Doc Rivers and the cohesion of the team.
This signing does not come without risk, which I would be foolish not to address. Delonte has had some mental health concerns over the last two years in the Cleveland organization, which has also led to some legal concerns off the court. This being said, I believe the reward far outweighs the risk, especially considering West’s lack of off-court drama during his first stint here in Boston.
One would assume that Danny, Doc, the Celtics medical staff, and Delonte have discussed these concerns and have mapped out a plan for both monitoring and treating these concerns. And if everyone involved holds up their end of the bargain, this deal could be beneficial for all.