It was a busy day for the Celtics. First they signed Darko Milicic and then they reported that Keyon Dooling has decided to retire. The Darko signing came up quickly, but it wasn't really a surprise because there were rumors that Danny had called him when the Wolves first waived him. The Dooling retirement came out of nowhere though.
My first thought was whether Fab Melo will be able to get #51 now. He had asked for it when he was first signed and Danny told him it wasn't available, even though Dooling hadn't yet been signed. Now, it is available and my guess is that Fab will get his old number back. Darko won't be quite as lucky. He's worn #31 for his whole career but that's kind of busy in the Celtics' rafters. Maybe if Fab gives up #13 for #51, Darko will take that number since it's just 31 backwards.
When the Celtics signed Darko, they had 14 guaranteed contracts and it looked as though there would be just one spot for Kris Joseph, Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith to fight for. Now, there are two spots once again. This is going to be a pretty good battle in camp. These 3 guys have gotten to be fairly close while working out together this summer but on the court, they are going to be rivals for those 2 open spots. We also have Rob Kurz and Micah Downs in the mix. Unless the last two really, really impress in camp, I think they are possibly headed for Maine.
Of the 3 that have been with the team since Summer League, two are partially guaranteed and one is non-guaranteed. The non-guaranteed contract belongs to Kris Joseph, the Celtics second round draft pick. Christmas is guaranteed for 236,802 and Smith is guaranteed for 25,000. It would seem that Joseph and Christmas have the inside track for the final two spots. Joseph was a draft pick and Christmas has the most guaranteed. With Dooling gone, Christmas plays the same position with almost the same skill set.
There will also be a battle in camp at the center position. It would seem that KG will again be the starter, but with Doc hopefully limiting his minutes again,. there will be plenty of back up minutes to go around. I expect Chris Wilcox to emerge as the top back up and I expect good things from him this season. But behind him, we have Jason Collins, Fab Melo and Darko. Fab will be hungry, but raw. Jason Collins is what he is and will be useful in some defensive situations. And Darko is kind of a blank slate. He's young and athletic. He's got 9 years experience but hasn't shown much in those 9 years. Can he get better with a mentor like KG? Or, will he go the way of Patrick O'Bryant and be written off as someone who didn't try hard enough? I guess we shall see.
As a side note, Marquis Daniels has signed a guaranteed contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. I'm happy to see Quisy find a spot. He was always a good Celtic. He never complained about his role and was always ready when called on. I hope he does well with the Bucks. And, Mickael Pietrus is still waiting on that bigger than the minimum contract.