The journeyman comes home

Bruce Bennett

Keith Bogans has never been a Celtic. At least, I don't think so. His career stat sheet looks like I'm trying to get to 500 words in a 5th grade book report: drafted by Milwaukee, immediately traded to Orlando for cash, traded to Charlotte, traded to Houston, signed as a free agent back in Orlando, traded back to Milwaukee, signed in San Antonio, signed and waived in Chicago, signed and waived in New Jersey, signed again months later by Brooklyn, and now finally signed and traded to Boston. So yes, this is his first year as a Celtic, but hearing him talk, it sounds like he's been a Celtic all along.

At the introductory press conference back in mid-July, the mood was pretty somber. MarShon Brooks looks like a dear caught in the headlights. Kris Humphries has the look of a man that knows he's getting paid no matter where he plays. But check out Keith Bogans. Don't mistake his dour exterior for someone that doesn't care. That's the look of all business, all the time and for a guy that's been on the business end of a lot NBA transactions, he's got a pretty good attitude.

I said this two months ago, but it bears repeating:

Widely considered a throw-in last month's blockbuster trade who has gotten paid handsomely just to make the numbers work, Keith Bogans comes to the Celtics with little hoopla and fanfare, but what he lacks in upside he makes up for in grit and balls after years of bar fights.

In the Big Three era, we've had our share of journeymen like Stephon Marbury, Rasheed Wallace, Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal, and Nate Robinson that have come to Boston in search of that Celtic magic. But it's been the rare veteran that's comes in--the Keyon Doolings and P.J. Browns of the NBA--that were always Celtics even before wearing the green, guys that epitomize the Celtic Way. Keith Bogans might be one of those guys.

We can talk about what Keith Bogans brings to the team as a 3 & D man, but ultimately, his value will be in a leadership role. The 33-year-old is the oldest player on the roster and easily the most traveled. He played for Doc on that 1-10 Magic team that would eventually get Rivers fired, the expansion season of the Bobcats, and several competitive playoff teams in Orlando, San Antonio, and Chicago. He's got the Kentucky connection with Rajon and like Rondo and Jeff Green, spent an entire year rehabbing an injury and successfully coming back.

Meet Keith Bogans (via bostonceltics)

Cynics will say, "what can a player who has bounced around the league and not found a home teach a group of young guys looking to be part of a foundation to a rebuilding team?" His career arc looks more like a cautionary tale rather than a model of stability. That may all be true, but Bogans walks the walk. Close your eyes and watch this video from The Association last season with the Nets. That could easily be Paul Pierce or Kevin Garnett (especially when he's barking out assignments on defense), right? If you're a stats nerd, check out his career per 36. It's nothing spectacular but it's steady, regardless if he was getting starter's minutes or coming off the bench.

I hate to bring this up, but his contract and the way the trade was structured gives Danny a lot of flexibility down the road. He signed on for three years at $16 million deal the final two years non-guaranteed. At first blush, it looks like a pretty sweet deal for the journeyman, but it'll be Ainge and the Celtics that benefit the most. Here's a snippit from a reddit stream breaking down the trade:

Nets Get Salary Celtics Get Salary
Paul Pierce $15,333,334 Keith Bogans $5,058,198
Trade Exception $10,275,136
TOTAL $15,333,334 TOTAL $15,333,334

So? What Does That Do?

This trade exception expires on 7/12/14. The signing moratorium ends on 7/10/14. Keith Bogans' contract is completely non-guaranteed for 2014-15. This means that, during the moratorium at the beginning of next year's free agent period, the Celtics could arrange a trade, or a sign-and-trade, for over $10M without sending any guaranteed contracts back plus they have Bogans' "super expiring" for over $5M more. They could throw in some of their many draft picks to entice a team to agree to a sign-and-trade if they get a free agent to agree to sign in Boston. They could take someone else's expiring contract. They could help someone get below the luxury tax. They only have a few days to work with, but the Celtics not only picked up three draft picks (and the right to swap another) to build the future, they also made themselves real players in next year's free agent super class, if they want to be one.

That trade exception plus Bogans' non-guaranteed contract is huge. In effect, the Celtics could bring in an almost max-player next summer, but when Bogans moves on--and yes, he will move on--I know I'll miss him. They won't retire his number or put together a homecoming video when he returns to the Garden, but hopefully, his voice and experience echoes with the players long after he's gone.

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