Time is ticking down on the Celtics preseason and there's still no indication of what the team intends to do to get down to a roster of 15. If anything, it is looking more and more like the team will have to cut someone who can and will play somewhere in the league this year.
I think if you polled fans, their top two options would be to either make a 2 for 1 trade or simply cut Brian Scalabrine. However, Marc Spears does his best to shoot down those ideas.
Don't be surprised if the Celtics don't make the one needed cut to get to the 15-man roster until the deadline day, Oct. 27. It also looks very doubtful that they will make a trade. Don't expect Brian Scalabrine to be waived since the Celtics wouldn't eat his salary.
The next logical options seems to be Darius Miles, who has an non-guaranteed contract. Nobody really expected to see him ever play again, so nobody would be super surprised to see him sent home. Still, he's a lottery ticket that you'd hate to toss out before you get a chance to scratch it. Besides, costing the Blazers cap room is still in the best interests of the everyone not from Portland.
So what's the next best option?
How about sending Sam Cassell to the bench a year early? This is hardly an original idea. As soon as he talked about becoming an assistant coach after the year, many a fan uttered the phrase "why wait a year?" under their breath (or shouted it from a rooftop).
At first I dismissed the idea. Why would the team go through the process of signing him to a player contract only to cut him? Why would Sam be so certain about his status on the team to announce his plans for next year ahead of time? (You know, besides ego)
However, upon further review (and perhaps reading between lines that may not really be there) I'm giving this idea another shot.
First of all, the team may not have been 100% sure about the backup point position coming out of the offseason (I know I wasn't). Many see Eddie as an off guard and Gabe as a glorified rookie. However, the team often played very well with House in the linup and Gabe has impressed enough to earn some praise this week.
Say the team told Sam the following: "Hey, we appreciate your role on the team last year. We'd love to have you back in some capacity. We know you'd like to be an assitant coach but you'd also like to give playing one more chance. Why not come to camp? If we can find room for you, great. If not, you can pick up a clipboard and help us from the bench. Oh yeah, and if we suffer any injuries or need to shore up the point guard spot, you will be available to sign a short term contract and maybe even play out the rest of the year. Whaddayathink?"
On Celtics Stuff Live last week, Scott Souza made the point that Sam could, as an assistant coach, still practice with the team as much as he wanted. As an older player, he could even benefit from taking a few months off before joining the team for the stretch run, much like PJ Brown did last year (and many hope he will again this year).
This is just a theory. We could see the team simply cut Darius Miles and call it a day. However, Danny Ainge is nothing if not creative in his personnel moves. Honestly, would you put it past him to set something like this up? If I had my way, I'd like to see the team start the Coach Cassell experiment start a year early.