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What Delonte's Return Means

You are right Perk, he never looked right in that uniform.
You are right Perk, he never looked right in that uniform.

The prodigal son has returned!  Delonte West was one of the most beloved Celtics in the pre-Big 3 era.  He was an excellent shooter with high basketball IQ that played with reckless abandon that you can't help but appreciate.  Of course he was also inconsistent and frequently injured because of that reckless abandon.  Oh yeah, and it didn't hurt that he was perhaps the most quotable Celtic since Kevin McHale.

He became a trade chip that helped us land Ray Allen and was later shipped to the Cleveland LeBrons, and thus became the enemy.  But it never felt right rooting against him.  When they won, the silver lining was that Delonte (and later Leon Powe) would benefit from it.

Of course the problem is that Delonte also has had his share of issues.  From problems with the law to emotional disorders to rumors about his private life.  For the most part, I couldn't help but watch from afar and shake my head and say a little prayer for him.  My impression of him is that he never meant anyone any harm (though loaded guns seem to imply the opposite) but he clearly needed help.

He managed to get things together long enough to contribute to the Cavs last year, but with LeBron taking his talents to South Beach, Delonte became expendable cap fodder.

So he returns to Boston with his share of baggage and a non-guaranteed contract.  Which follows suit with Danny Ainge's summer of reloading with contracts that maintain future flexibility.  On talent alone, he's worth much more than a minimum non-guaranteed contract, so as long as he can hold it together and focus on basketball, he's a bargain and a half.  If not, then the team can simply cut bait and wish him well.

He would appear to fit right into the backup 2 position (perhaps pushing Von Wafer down the depth chart) and this move presumably takes the roster to 15 bodies.  Gaffney and Lafayette would appear most likely to be cut after camp.

Assuming no further changes to the roster, the team will be relying heavily on Marquis Daniels to back up Paul Pierce.  If there was an injury to Paul or Marquis (not a stretch by any means), you don't have a lot of options other than to go small or give Harangody some time at the 3.  I suppose you could always bring in Coach Scalabrine on a 10 day contract, but then you'd have to cut someone.

Still, the moves that Ainge has made have certainly added depth to a team that needed more talent on the bench.  And if nothing else, a bench featuring Nate Robinson, Delonte West, Glen Davis, and Shaquille O'Neal has got to be the most entertaining 2nd unit in the league.

My hope and belief is that Delonte will benefit from a return to his first pro team and a more mature locker room environment.  He'll be humbled and hungry to prove himself on a team that is looking towards a return trip to the Finals.  If not, then there's always Von Wafer.

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