August 9, 2007
Reggie Miller to Make It a Big 4?
Never underestimate Danny Ainge's ability to think differently.
Karl Malone, Antonio McDyess and Allen Iverson were all targets of the Celtics executive director of basketball operations at some stage over the last four years.
This year he identified two more big targets, and was rewarded with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that Ainge, now searching for depth, has targeted a soon-to-be 42-year-old retiree who also happens to be one of the greatest shooters in the history of the game.
Ainge acknowledged yesterday that he has approached Reggie Miller about coming out of retirement to play for the Celtics.
``I had a couple of conversations with Reggie, but that's all I'll say,'' Ainge said of Miller, who had told ESPN.com that he was pondering a return with the Celtics.
The decision now is reportedly Miller's to make, with the Celtics willing to take him on without anything more than a ``yes'' from the five-time All-Star, who played his entire 18-year career for the Pacers before retiring in 2005.
He is said to be ``maybe a couple of weeks'' from making a decision.
The belief is that Miller would be the perfect addition for the Celtics as an off-the-bench scorer.
The Celtics have already added to their bench with the signings of big man Scot Pollard and guard Eddie House.
Pollard isn't considered an offensive player, and House, despite his shooting prowess, could encounter mismatch problems because of his 6-foot-1 size.
But like Allen, Miller is a big guard with legendary range.
Few have any doubt that he can still shoot.
His game shape - not to mention his will to return to the grind - is another question that the Celtics should find out the answer to soon.
News of this new fling with the league was received with some surprise in Indianapolis, where Miller is an institution.
``I wouldn't bet against Reggie in anything,'' Pacers president Donnie Walsh said yesterday, echoing comments that Larry Bird, the team's president of basketball operations, made to the Indianapolis Star two years ago at the time of Miller's retirement.
Bird told the Star that he had no doubt, because of how well Miller kept himself in shape, that he could play in his 40s.
``I know he can still shoot - that I know,'' said Walsh. ``Other than that, I don't know.''
Walsh had no further insight into his former star's thinking.
``I'm just surprised he didn't call us first,'' Walsh said of Miller's comments.
If Miller does indeed give the go-ahead to Ainge, it will mark yet another bold move by the Celtics personnel chief in what has been a wildly active summer.
He has already stocked the starting lineup, which now includes Garnett, Paul Pierce and Allen.
Miller would give him a marquee player not only coming off the bench, but as a potential sixth man if the guard's body is up to the challenge.
In his final season, Miller averaged 14.8 points a game.