Tuesday , Mar , 04 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Buyer Beware: Boston Celtics Taking Risk With Sam Cassell

There are whispers the Celtics’ front-office wasn’t keen on Cassell. Years ago, Boston GM Danny Ainge coached Cassell in Phoenix. The two didn’t click; Ainge had issues with Cassell’s shot-first, pass-second game. Eventually, the Suns dealt the table-setter to the Nets in the Jason Kidd trade …

Buyer Beware: Boston Celtics Taking Risk With Sam CassellMy Quick Take: His wish has been granted. After months of speculation, the Los Angeles Clippers and Sam Cassell have agreed on a buyout, allowing the table-setter to officially sign with the powerhouse Boston Celtics for the remainder of the season.

This, of course, is what Cassell wanted. Signing with the green-and-white gives him another opportunity at an NBA Title.

And this is also what the Celtic players wanted. Kevin Garnett and Cassell helped Minnesota advance to the Western Conference Finals in 2004-05; in Milwaukee, a Gollum-Jesus Shuttlesworth (Cassell and Ray Allen) backcourt helped the Bucks push deep in the second season.

There are whispers the Celtics’ front-office wasn’t keen on Cassell.

Years ago, Boston GM Danny Ainge coached Cassell in Phoenix. The two didn’t click; Ainge had issues with Cassell’s shot-first, pass-second game. Eventually, the Suns dealt the table-setter to the Nets in the Jason Kidd trade.

Now consider match-ups. The Celtics seem destined for an Eastern Conference showdown with the Pistons, so how does Cassell, at 38, match-up against Chauncey Billups?

On offense, Cassell can’t take the bigger Billups down to the low-block. On defense, Cassell lacks the quicks to stay in front of Mr. Big Shot.

Several publications speculated on why this move was actually made.

In other words, this pickup is all about appeasing Kevin Garnett, who enjoyed his lone longest playoff run (Western finals; all the rest were one round and done) alongside Cassell (working the pick-and-roll to perfection, no doubt) and Latrell Sprewell. (New York Post)

Keeping Garnett happy is important. However, recreating the past is always risky, especially with a temperamental player like Cassell.

The jury is out on Boston’s latest move. It will only be deemed a success if Cassell helps the Celtics advance to the NBA Finals.

Was Cassell the right pickup for Boston? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts. (Image appears courtesy of JHasio on Flickr.com)