Truth be told, I had this article written before the news broke this afternoon that the Celtics weren't going to pick up Randolph's option. I had initially written it with the thought that Ainge would bring back the fan favorite, but alas, Shavsanity Day closes with a whimper:
Shavlik Randolph told ESPN the Boston Celtics have informed him they are not picking up his option.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) August 1, 2013
Maybe this is the right decision. The roster now stands at 15 going into camp and keeping Randolph was a luxury that the team couldn't afford, but it's hard not to love the tenacity this guy brought late last season:
The Celtics love them some Shavlik Randolph (via Ben Rohrbach)
Shavlik Randolph wasn't a big contributor last season. He averaged just over twelve minutes a game after coming over from China as a late season addition to Doc's bench. He only played three minutes in one game in the playoffs and yet, his legend grew. There are fan favorites like Brian Scalabrine that don't necessarily produce, but Shav actually showed a spark for the C's:
If Randolph played enough games to qualify for statistical leads, his 20.9 rebound rate and 17.2 offensive rebound rate would have cracked the top 10 in the NBA. Think about that, folks: this guy grabs over 20 percent of all missed shots while he's on the floor, and 17 percent of all possible rebounds on the offensive end. Fans almost came to expect second-chance opportunities from the big man.
Sure, it's a small sample size. Sure, the Celtics have a logjam of young bigs that need PT in order to develop and Randolph could just stunt their growth. Shav turns 30 this November and he's a career NBA journeyman, but there are things that can't be measured in years or his $1.1 million contract. The biggest reason why we bang the drum for this guy is because he showed hustle and guts in those seventeen games last year. We're talking about a guy who disappeared for two NBA seasons, played in Puerto Rico and for the Foshan Long Lions, and earned a second chance in the bigs. I understand that roster spots are precious in the NBA--especially for a rebuilding team--and they should be awarded just because a guy has a nice story, but Randolph has proven it on the court and he'll push Fab and Faverani to the limit in practice. What Shav lacks in upside, he makes up for in effort; how else to explain how a guy who was all but forgotten by the NBA for two years resurrects his career doing the dirty work.
As Jeff points out, guaranteeing Shav's contract would have meant that Danny would have to still do more weed whacking on the fringes of the roster this summer and possibly into training camp. Picking up his team option today would have signaled that a shooting guard (as Jeff suggests, Jordan Crawford) was on his way out. However, in the end, the Shavlik Randolph era ends in Boston and I sincerely hope that he finds a home with another team except for the Heat, Knicks, and Lakers. Who knows, Shav could still pop up as a training camp invite if he doesn't latch on somewhere else.
Actually, scratch that. I fully expect him to be back in early October. This guy is all blood and guts, all bar fight. Come on, Danny. The guy epitomizes everything it means to be a Celtic. Let the legend live on.
UPDATE: Gary Washburn brings up a good point:
#celtics officially waive Shavlik Randolph, clearing roster space for potentially Colton Iverson to make club— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) August 1, 2013
Although it's been reported that Iverson has signed a deal in Turkey, others claim that the deal has yet to be finalized. Maybe this move opens the door even more for Colton to play stateside instead. He plays a similar grinder game as Randolph, but is six years younger and cheaper at the rookie scale. We'd still have to cut or trade a body, but we're still a long ways away from training camp and opening night.