First Order of Business: Rick Fox and David Wesley

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.

While 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.

"But 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 under Pitino.

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 better."

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 very well.

"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 contest."

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 enough.

"I'll make sure he gets over that," said Pitino, who will visit Minor in Louisville this week.

The 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.

"Right 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."


FLCeltsFan said...

Scary how a lot of fans looked at Pitino's 10 year contract as a new start and the start of a revival. We're at the same spot with a bright young college coach given a 10 year contract. But then again those contracts never seem to last 10 years, do they. Hopefully Stevens' humility will be the difference and he will succeed where Pitino's ego failed.

FLCeltsFan said...

I was never a big Rick Fox fan. Always seemed like such a pretty boy... still does. He was the perfect fit for LA.

Lex said...

Should be interesting.

I don't see much of a fit for Jordan Crawford. Glad to see Marshon Brooks is showing up early.

The Brazilian center looks like he has some O.

But can he play any D?

Lex said...

Not sure what Waltah brings to the mix either.

FLCeltsFan said...

I'd definitely like to see Danny move Crawford. Not only does he not add much, he has potential to be a locker room cancer. He doesn't engage brain before talking or acting.

Walter brings mostly his personality and his ability to bridge gap between players and coach. As a former player he's been there and can give insights to Stevens about how to approach things.

FLCeltsFan said...

As you can tell by my love of Perk's game, I don't have much use for a center that plays O and no D. Defense from the center position is important in my book.

Lex said...

Can't imagine it would be too hard to deal crawford

FLCeltsFan said...

I read that Danny's been trying but no one wants him.

Lex said...


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