The Curtis Borchardt Era in Boston is Ovah

October 28, 2005

The Celtics cut center Curtis Borchardt yesterday, trimming the roster to the 15-player maximum in preparation for the regular season. The way the roster stands today is the way it should remain for the opener Wednesday, barring any unexpected trades.

Along with guard Will Bynum, who was waived Tuesday, the 7-foot Borchardt was always presumed to be one of the players who would not make the roster. The Celtics still must pay Borchardt's salary of nearly $1.9 million for this season, though the cash considerations received from Miami in the Antoine Walker sign-and-trade agreement were designed to cover the expenses incurred by waiving Borchardt and forward Qyntel Woods ($700,000).

    "It was just a numbers thing at that position," said executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge. "Curtis played really well for us. We just didn't have room for him on the roster. He's definitely an NBA player."

Boston has six players capable of playing the power forward and center positions, including Mark Blount, Al Jefferson, Raef LaFrentz, Kendrick Perkins, Justin Reed, and Brian Scalabrine. And, theoretically, Ryan Gomes could see time at power forward if coach Doc Rivers uses a small lineup.

Borchardt arrived in Boston hoping for a fresh start after three injury-riddled seasons in Utah. In fact, he has struggled to remain injury-free since his freshman year at Stanford. He fractured his right foot twice, the second time causing him to miss his NBA rookie season. He sat out four weeks with a broken left hand his second year and saw his season end with a right wrist fracture. Borchardt hoped a new offseason conditioning regimen would keep him injury-free and available when the Celtics needed him. He stayed healthy throughout the preseason, but the Celtics rarely needed or used him.

Borchardt finished the exhibition season averaging 1 point, 1.3 rebounds, and 4.9 minutes in seven exhibition games. In the 101-100 win over Cleveland Wednesday night, Borchardt went 0 for 1 from the floor and grabbed one rebound in nine minutes. He also had a pair of assists and a pair of fouls. Long before, however, it was clear Borchardt did not have a role with Boston.

The Celtics seemed more excited about the $5 million trade exception and pair of second-round picks they received as part of the Walker deal than Borchardt. Still, Borchardt didn't worry about being overlooked or undervalued. He said he has entered every season "kind of the forgotten guy." He used that status, or lack thereof, as motivation. Last season with Utah, Borchardt averaged 3 points and 3.3 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game, starting 23 of the 67 games in which he played. But while Rivers recently praised his play, Borchardt simply could not break into the center or power forward rotations, especially with Jefferson healthy and Perkins looking like a consistent contributor.

With Borchardt gone, the Celtics will go four deep at point guard and then some. Delonte West will be the starter with Orien Greene as backup for now. Plenty of other players will be available to fill in as floor general if West (day to day with a sprained left foot) remains injury-prone. Dan Dickau will be the third-string point guard. Once Marcus Banks returns from a stress fracture in his left tibia, hopefully in mid-January, he will have a tough time earning minutes. And don't forget that Ricky Davis and Paul Pierce took on some ballhandling duties during exhibition games and should continue to do so during the regular season.

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