July 7, 1997
Chris Wallace said free agent center Travis Knight is "tailor-made for Rick Pitino
basketball." The Celtics' general manager added the team is "very
interested" in Knight and has been recruiting the 7-footer since July 1.
Wallace said many things yesterday, except what appears to be obvious:
Knight will be the newest Celtic.
can't comment on that right now," Wallace said during opening night of
rookie-free agent camp at Brandeis. "Nothing is official until a
contract is signed."
Knight apparently has a
seven-year contract in place, worth about $ 22 million. On Friday, he
told the Los Angeles Times that he was leaving the Lakers for Boston.
Yesterday, he told WBZ Radio that he's on his way here. "I did some soul
searching and decided," said Knight. "I'll probably come to Boston in
the next couple of days. Money wasn't that important a factor. They're
rebuilding and I think it's an exciting situation there. Pitino obviously will be very exciting to play for."
the Celtics made no announcement. More important, they didn't renounce
any players. Renouncing one or more of their nine free agents would have
to happen before a signing because the team is over the salary cap.
Wallace would not say that the 22-year-old Knight is on his way to town
this week, he did explain why the Celtics would be interested in the
former University of Connecticut player.
people in this business who have talent and upside are rare," Wallace
said. He said Knight began to tap his potential with the Lakers last
season, when he averaged just over 16 minutes, 4.8 points, and 4.5
rebounds. Wallace said he has been following Knight since his days at
UConn and has been impressed with his progress, although, he said, "He's
going to have to get stronger." When he does come to Boston, Knight
will have to log twice as many minutes as he did last season in the
shadows of Shaquille O'Neal and Elden Campbell.
of the Celtics' "great interest" in Knight, Wallace said, relates to
his ability to play power forward and center, as well as his mobility. A
lumbering, halfcourt-oriented big man will not thrive in the Pitino system, and Knight can run the court with ease.
signing may be even more important with the uncertain status of Dino
Radja. According to Wallace, the 6-11 Radja is in Europe working with a
personal trainer. Wallace said the power forward's position with the
team is status quo. He also said the Celtics have not examined Radja
since the 76ers determined June 24 that his left knee and back were not
strong enough to survive an 82-game season. Take Radja out of the mix,
and the only Boston player over 6-10 is the brittle Pervis Ellison.
refused to speculate on when Knight would arrive, but indications are
that the deal should be completed no later than tomorrow.
wasn't a softie on the first night of camp. Many players arrived in
town yesterday for the 8 p.m. start. But it wasn't an easy night. There
were still players on the court after 90 minutes. Some of the faces were
familiar: Dee Brown, Greg Minor, Eric Williams. There were other roster
quirks, too: Cousins Danya Abrams and Otis Hill are competing for
roster spots, and the most physically impressive player, 320-pound Garth
Joseph, could not participate because of injury. The camp resumes this
morning with the first of two sessions.