Finally some real Celtics news to report. The Celtics have signed their first round draft pick J.R. Giddens to a two year guaranteed contract with an option for an additional two years. Giddens averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds as a senior at New Mexico last season. He had some maturity issues and problems in his past that allowed him to slip to the 30th pick but he has assured anyone who would listen that those issues are all past and he is very excited to be on the Celtics. He didn't participate in the Celtics rookie and free agent camp earlier this summer because he was unable to get a contract worked out before then. He is expected to begin working out in Waltham at the team's training facility next week. The Celtics still have not signed their second round pick, Bill Walker, who has been working out in Boston much of the summer already in spite of not being signed as yet. So far this kid has really impressed me and I hope Danny gets him signed and brings him to training camp.
The Celtics also are working on extensions for Doc and the assistant coaches and expect to have them all wrapped up before training camp. This may be as important an any player signings. Tom Thibodeau is responsible for the defense that gave the league fits this past season and it is crucial to have him back again. For awhile I thought the Celtics were going to lose him with all the head coaching positions open and his name being circulated for all of them. But, with the Celtics going all the way to the finals, all of the positions were filled before Thibodeau was available to interview. Defense wins championships and Tom Thibodeau brought that defense. I will breathe a sigh of relief when he is finally resigned. Also, with Patrick O'Bryant as the Celtics new project at center and Perk still developing, it is important to keep Clifford Ray around. Cliff is one of the best big man coaches in the league.
The Suns still are trying to solve their backup point guard situation, but they made a move on Thursday to sign forward Louis Amundson to a one-year contract after he made an impression with his Summer League Play for Golden State. The Suns see him as an aggressive player who can run the floor well and can defend multiple positions. He averaged 1.1 points and 0.8 rebounds in 16 games last season for the Sixers. Playing for the Golden State Warriors in the Vegas Summer League, Admunson averaged 6.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and one block a game in 17.6 minutes of play.
Brandon Roy's surgery was successful. Reports are that he will need 4-to-6 weeks to recover from the arthroscopic surgery to remove a piece of cartilage that was causing irritation in his knee. This is the third knee surgery for a torn meniscus in Roy's career with the other two coming in high school and college. He is expected to be back to 100% by the Blazers' season opener against the Lakers.
Another of the top free agents is heading to Europe. New Orleans Hornets free agent guard Jannero Pargo, who has had offers from the Spurs and the Hawks and who was on the Suns radar, has reached an agreement in principle with Moscow Dynamo on a one-year contract worth about $3.5 million, according to a report on Yahoo Sports. Once again the lure of more money in Europe has taken a key free agent from the NBA.
The long awaited trade of Ron Artest from the Kings to the Rockets is finally official as Donte Greene was finally available to be traded. The Sacramento Kings acquired Donté Greene, Bobby Jackson, a future first round draft pick along with other considerations from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Ron Artest, Sean Singletary and Patrick Ewing, Jr. Yao has already voiced his concerns about how Artest will affect the Rockets' chemistry and the truth is, Artest has caused problems with both the Pacers and Kings and isn't likely to stop just because he is on the Rockets. Geoff Petrie, the Kings GM was gushing about how excited he was to add Greene and Jackson, but what he was really thinking was how excited he was to be rid of Artest. What's the over/under of just when Ron Ron will have his first incident in Houston?
The Los Angeles Lakers signed 6'9" free agent power forward Josh Powell on Thursday. Powell is a three-year NBA veteran who played last season with the Clippers where he averaged 5.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 64 games. Powell has career averages of 4.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in 138 games with Dallas, Indiana, Golden State and the Clippers.
Stephon Marbury's future is still up in the air as there is a lot of talk of the Knicks buying out his contract. There are still teams in the NBA who could use a point guard. There was talk of him going to Boston because of his ties with KG, but with the signing of Eddie House and hopes of Pruitt developing, I don't see room for him on the Celtics. The Celtics need a small forward or a center more than they need another point guard at this point. Last summer, Marbury vowed he would play in Italy after his Knick contract expired after 2009. with 9 NBA players signing with European or Israeli team this summer, this doesn't seem as farfetched as it did when he said it last summer. He may be going to Italy sooner than he planned if he is bought out and doesn't find enough money in the NBA this season.
The Globe has a story about Shaq and his wife Shaunie and the fact that their marriage is on the mend. It made big headlines when Shaq filed for divorce and so it merits mention when things are going well for them. Shaunie is launching a video sharing website that is geared to showcase kids and their talents. http://www.mykidzastar.com The O'Neal's have 6 kids and it is good news that the big guy has patched it up and is keeping the family together.
I'm watching Mike and Mike in the Morning with Paul Pierce as co-host and he is doing a great job. He definitely has a future as a sports commentator when he finishes his playing career. Tanguay better watch his back. My favorite part has been his explanation of what happened in Vegas. He said he was pulled over by a Laker fan and he was charged with DWC... Driving with Championship.