Celtics Bid Farewell to Tyus Edney

Celtics Bid Farewell to Tyus Edney

July 1, 1998

Seven months ago, Rick Pitino called Tyus Edney his best point guard. Now the 5-foot-10-inch Edney is looking for a new job.

In a move that surprised no one, the Celtics yesterday chose not to exercise their option on Edney's contract. That means one of the heroes of UCLA's 1995 championship team is free to sign with anyone he chooses. The Celtics did retain Bruce Bowen, a 6-7 defensive specialist who can play small forward and shooting guard.

Pitino spoke highly of Edney publicly but was often frustrated with the guard, who spent a total of 10 months in Boston. The coach said he wanted a point guard with a more vocal court personality, and that was not Edney's style. When the team acquired Kenny Anderson in late February, Edney became less of a factor.

Now the point guard, who many believed the Celtics signed as part of the Chris Mills deal (Mills and Edney have the same agent in Arn Tellem), has the unenviable task of looking for work when the entire league is shut down. The NBA lockout, which officially began today, makes it illegal for any team to contact free agents.

Another reason this is not a great time for Edney to go job hunting: His wife is expecting a child next month.

Health is a question

The lockout isn't helping the Celtics. The team would like to monitor the progress of Anderson and his sore knees. Word is that Anderson is not healing as quickly as he or the team would like. But the guard cannot be treated by the team's medical staff until the lockout is lifted . . . Anderson is one of the early casualties of the lockout. His contract calls for his entire 1998-99 salary, $ 5.845 million, to be paid this month. "We have a number of players like that," said Anderson's agent, David Falk. "Most of the guys from that free agent class summer of 1996 are in the same boat." That might include such luminaries as Dikembe Mutombo ($ 11.2 million) and Juwan Howard ($ 13.125 million), although Alonzo Mourning ($ 13.129 million) isn't in that category. Several players - one report listed as many as 40 - receive either their full salary (Kevin Gamble, for instance, although he is without a team) or part of it (Chris Gatling) in the summer . . . Falk reiterated yesterday that Antoine Walker was "disappointed" that the Celtics did not draft his former Kentucky teammate, Nazr Mohammed. So, too, was Falk. "Antoine had some strong feelings about that," Falk said. "And I think it would have been a good fit." Mohammed instead went 29th to Utah, who then shipped him to Philadelphia.

Deal wasn't done

How would you like to have a Boston front court that includes Jamal Mashburn and Dirk Nowitzki? It might have happened had the Golden State Warriors said "yes" to a pre-draft trade proposal from Boston. The Celtics, despite their public denials, were indeed shopping Walker. One of their proposals was to send Walker, Greg Minor, Pervis Ellison, and Dontae Jones to the Warriors for the fifth pick in the draft and Latrell Sprewell. The assumption was that Boston would then have turned around and dealt Sprewell to Miami for Mashburn and assorted flotsam. The Celtics could have had Nowitzki at No. 5; the German went ninth and yesterday agreed to play with Dallas after having been presumed all along to be a lock to remain in Europe for perhaps the next two years . . . The lockout does not prevent teams from corresponding with each other and agreeing to make trades. The deals simply can't be consummated . . . The Celtics aren't taking any chances with Paul Pierce's indoctrination to the Pitino Way. Pitino flew out to Los Angeles, Pierce's hometown, after the draft and then had strength and conditioning coach Shaun Brown fly out Saturday night to get Pierce on a weight, conditoning, and nutrition program for the summer.

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