May 12, 1997
People are looking at the Celtics in a different light now that Rick Pitino is on board. Now it may be time to see the player with a different perspective.
the roster will most certainly undergo upheaval in the next several
months and beyond, the players who remain could be quite different with Pitino's guidance.
"The first question is probably who the players are going to be," Pitino said. "We have some free agent questions, and there could be some trades along the way, too."
On the former count, the new leader must make difficult calls on Rick Fox and David Wesley.
"Those are two guys with wonderful, wonderful attitudes," Pitino said. "Both have everything you want in a Celtic.
some of this is out of our control. I do think both guys will want to
see what's out there (for offers). There are just a lot of things we
have to look at right now."
There is no question Fox is built for Pitino's
system, but the Celtics' horrible situation with the salary cap may
well mean he'd have to take a more modest deal to stay. Wesley,
meanwhile, is rightfully looking for a strong score after making just $
350,000 this past season. What he needs is financial security, and he
may not be able to find it here, though he would certainly do very well
Once Pitino learns what is possible for player movement, he will turn his attention to the holdovers.
"I think it's been this way in literally every situation I've been in," Pitino
said. "When I first came to the Knicks, they were trying to move
Patrick Ewing. At Providence, they told me I'd have to recruit new
players and put everyone else on the back burner. But the only way you
can turn around a program quickly is to make the existing players
The top candidates for such a
transformation are Dana Barros and Dee Brown, while even Dino Radja
should see better shots if he buys into the fast-break formula.
"I think Dana's going to be terrific with what we do," Pitino
said. "He's a tough kid, and he can shoot the ball. People say, well,
he's too small to play the 2 (shooting guard) and he's not really a 1
(point guard). But he has quickness, he can score and he anticipates
"As for Dee, I've got to meet
him as if I'm meeting him for the first time. Sometimes, if you just
listen to what people say and some of the comments he's made, you're not
going to get the most positive picture. But the first time I talk to
him I'm going to tell him I don't know anything about the past. I fully
expect him to show up in great shape and have a big year for us with
what we do. This is still the talented kid who won the slam dunk
Greg Minor, who competed in the
NBA's dunk-off in '96, could also see a change in his game. Minor lacks
some range with his jumper, but he's a hard worker who should be better
by now. One of the main problems is his reluctance to shoot the ball
"I'll make sure he gets over that," said Pitino, who will visit Minor in Louisville this week.
coach plans to have meetings with most of the current Celts in the
coming days. He needs to better understand what he has in house before
going out to shop in both trades and the draft. The search for a general
manager and a third assistant coach has been put off for the time
being. Pitino sees no pressing need to fill those jobs just yet.
now, I want to be able to sit back and concentrate on players," he
said. "We're going to have to make some important decisions on people.
We have a lot to look at."