The Celtics agreed to terms with free agent forward/center Scot Pollard yesterday, according to executive director of basketball operations/general manager Danny Ainge. The 6-foot-11-inch, 265-pound Pollard got a one-year deal believed to be worth the veteran minimum ($1.2 million for 10 years service). He adds a much-needed big man to the Celtics' frontcourt and raises the number of players under contract to 12, one shy of the league minimum.
Selected 19th overall by the Pistons in the 1997 draft, Pollard, 32, spent the bulk of his career with the Kings (five seasons). He enjoyed his best season with Sacramento in 2001-02, averaging a career-high 7.1 rebounds and 6.4 points. He played 80 games that year and averaged 23.5 minutes per contest.
After signing a one-year deal with Cleveland almost a year ago for about $2 million, Pollard played 24 games with the Cavaliers, averaging 1 point and 1.3 rebounds in 4.5 minutes per game. He has career averages of 4.5 points and 4.8 rebounds.
Preferring to wait until the deal is officially signed, Ainge declined to comment yesterday on why the team pursued Pollard. Undoubtedly, in addition to his size, the Celtics found Pollard's rebounding ability and intensity and energy appealing. Plus, after playing for the Cavaliers last season, he has experience with a playoff run to the NBA Finals. And it doesn't hurt that Pollard played two years at Kansas alongside Paul Pierce.
At the very least, Pollard promises to keep the locker room loose with his quirky humor and unusual hairstyles, like the mini-Mohawk he sported with Cleveland.
But sometimes Pollard can go too far. Late last season, when the Cavaliers played one of his former teams, the Pacers, Pollard was on the bench in street clothes. He made headlines when he looked into a camera and said, "Hey kids, do drugs." Pollard later apologized for the remark, calling it a bad joke.
Joking aside, if Pollard stays healthy and earns an opportunity to play consistently, he could be a pleasant surprise. While he may be less heralded than the other 30-something acquisitions the Celtics have made this offseason, he could be a valuable role player with his defense.