Danny Ainge recently laid out his want for another shooter, and, perhaps not coincidentally, reports have surfaced that the Celtics are at least mildly interested in three players who could fill that void: Old friends Delonte West and Eddie House, along with disenchanted Portland Trailblazers guard Rudy Fernandez, who reportedly wants out of the Pacific Northwest.
House currently stands as a free agent, West was recently involved in a trade to the Minnesota Timberwolves and is expected to be bought out, which would make him a free agent, and Fernandez is still currently under contract with the Blazers, meaning he would need to be acquired via trade.
If either West or House were to sign with Boston, it would be, in all likelihood, for the Veteran's Minimum. It remains unclear who the Celtics would send to Portland in a trade for Fernandez, as Rasheed Wallace's contract won't get the job done, since Fernandez is set to make just $1.25 million next season.
Acquiring Fernandez might prove to be more difficult than bringing back House or West, but as CelticsBlog's own Tom Halzack reported yesterday, the Celtics and Blazers have been in serious talks since Tuesday, meaning Boston's certainly enticed by the idea of adding the Spanish guard. For perhaps the first time this offseason, it appears as though the Celtics actually have "options" as they continue to look to add depth to a somewhat meager bench.
Now it's just a matter of determining which player will serve as the best fit for a veteran-laden team aiming to compete for another championship next season.
WHY EDDIE HOUSE MAKES SENSE
Reason No. 1: First and foremost, Eddie's price tag should be pretty cheap. If negotiations were to begin between the C's and House, Boston would offer the Veteran's Minimum, and House would more than likely accept.
Reason No. 2: Being a member of the Boston Celtics as recently as February of this year before he was traded to New York for Nate Robinson, House is clearly familiar with the organization, his would-be teammates, and Doc Rivers's system, so integrating him into the team's plans wouldn't be overly difficult. House was one of the more popular players during his initial stint here, both with the fans and his teammates, so he would bring with him the always-important team chemistry incentive.
Reason No. 3: Ainge said he's looking for a shooter, and Eddie House is a shooter, plain and simple. It's his bread and butter, and will continue to be. For his career, House has shot 39 percent from three-point nation, and during his two and a half seasons in Boston he posted marks of 39.3 percent (2007-2008), a franchise single-season record of 44.4 percent (2008-2009), and 38.3 percent (50 games in 2009-2010).
WHY EDDIE HOUSE DOESN'T MAKE SENSE
Reason No. 1: The Celtics already re-signed Nate Robinson, who boasts a similar game to the 6'1 House. Even if the Celtics signed House with the intention of using him as the backup shooting guard and Robinson as the backup point guard, we're now talking about a second unit with a vastly undersized pair in the back court - neither of which are great defenders.
Reason No. 2: House's defense is spotty, at best. While we can't necessarily fault Eddie's effort on that end of the floor, we can question the results, or lack thereof. Eddie will never find success as a great one-on-one defender, and will only produce mild results when adhering to the team's defensive schemes overall.
Reason No. 3: House might simply be too one-dimensional for the Celtics next season. While Eddie might be one of the game's better shooters, and perhaps its quickest one, burying three-pointers and the occasional mid-range jumper is really all he'll bring to the table. He doesn't attack the rim consistently, he's not overly athletic, and he's not great at getting others involved (His career assists-per-game average is a mere 1.6).
WHY DELONTE WEST MAKES SENSE
Reason No. 1: He's taller (6'3) than House, meaning the Celtics might actually be able to get away with pairing him with Robinson in the back court.
Reason No. 2: Similar to House, West sports a career three-point field goal percentage of 37.3. However, unlike House, West isn't limited strictly to shooting. He's capable of attacking and finishing at the rim, can guard bigger players than House, and his assists-per-game mark for his career more than doubles that of House (3.7). Also, Delonte is a better option than Eddie as a backup point guard, just in case the Celtics ever wanted Robinson to serve strictly as a shooter and/or scorer.
Reason No. 3: West has Boston roots, as the Celtics selected Delonte with the 24th overall pick back in the 2004 NBA Draft. He has played for Doc Rivers before (although not within this current system), and was regarded highly by both Doc and Danny before he was ultimately traded to Seattle as a key piece of the Ray Allen deal. Only Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins remain from the cast of players Delonte initially mingled with, but he had positive relationships with both during his time here. He enjoyed one of his best statistical seasons under Doc during the 2006-2007 campaign, when he averaged 12.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists, while shooting 42.7 percent from the floor, 36.5 percent from three-point nation, and 85.3 percent from the free throw line.
WHY DELONTE WEST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE
The Main Reason: Sadly, Delonte now brings with him a ton of baggage. Between battling depression at the beginning of the 2008-2009 season, to the recent gun charges, to all of the rumors surrounding him and Mrs. James, West might be too much of a gamble for a team like the Celtics that relies so heavily upon in-house chemistry.
WHY RUDY FERNANDEZ MAKES SENSE
Reason No. 1: Standing at 6'6, Fernandez could spell both Allen or Pierce for extended stretches, depending upon how Marquis Daniels is utilized. And just because he's taller than House and West doesn't mean Fernandez is worse off as a shooter. On the contrary, his 38.7 percent mark from three-point nation for his career is better than West's, and just below House's. On top of that, Fernandez set an NBA rookie record with 159 made three-point field goals during his inaugural season.
Reason No. 2: Youth! Fernandez is still five years away from the dreaded 3-0. That's practically unheard of in these parts. If acquired, Fernandez could help the Celtics right away, and could also serve as part of the bridge towards the future once this band of championship hopefuls has been broken up.
Reason No. 3: While he might not look like it, Fernandez is a heck of an athlete, who leaps much higher than some might expect. He and Rondo would certainly be an exciting, and effective, tandem in the open court. Rondo would have his running mate, and Rudy would have one of the game's premiere passers tossing him alley-oops every time the opportunities present themselves.
WHY RUDY FERNANDEZ DOESN'T MAKE SENSE
The Main Reason: We'll have to wait and see what Portland wants for him. Some people might want 'Sheed's contract to be the base of Boston's offer, but the Blazers would have to offer more than just Fernandez, and it doesn't appear as though they have the contracts needed to match salaries. Boston could offer Portland a collection of draft picks, but such a deal can't appeal too greatly to Portland, and would more than likely come down to how anxious the Blazers are to grant Fernandez's trade request.
So, if you could choose one of the three players mentioned, who would be your top choice?