7.27.2009

Celtics Audition Derek Smith

1990-91 Boston Celtics
Remembering the 29-5 Start


The courtship of Derek Smith gets serious today. The Celtics will get to see their prime target on the court. They may even see his name on the dotted line.

Smith is due in town today and, if all goes according to plan, he will undergo some kind of workout. Smith saw his doctor yesterday and word is he may be only two weeks away from playing.

Smith's attorney, Ron Grinker, is planning to meet with the Celtics' brain trust. Grinker refused comment yesterday.

If the sides become serious, the Celtics have two exceptions they can utilize to give Smith more than the NBA minimum. They have any or all of Dennis Johnson's $1.15 million available. If they use that, DJ would be officially out of the picture. They also have roughly $437,000, which amounts to one-half of Jim Paxson's salary-cap value. Paxson was waived Dec. 5.

The Celtics have tried to downplay their interest in Smith while admitting they are at least a player away from where they want to be. Smith originally seemed headed back to Philadelphia, where he played the last 1 1/2 seasons. However, the Sixers used his roster spot to sign Jayson Williams and the league ruled Philly couldn't re-sign Smith for a year.

Smith has stated he would relish the prospect of playing for Boston. And at 6 feet 6 inches, he fills the team's most pressing need, a defender at the small forward position.

Smith also has played with Golden State, the Clippers and the Kings. He is a career 12.9 points per game scorer, although he twice has averaged more than 20.

His health, however, is an ongoing concern. He underwent surgery in September to remove scar tissue from his knee. Grinker has said Smith is pain-free for the first time in years. If that is the case, he could be a real find for Boston.

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