WALTHAM - The trimmed-down Celtics left room for a "Grasshopper" and potential player to be named later.
The Celtics waived veteran guard Dahntay Jones and rookie guard Jackie Manuel yesterday while rookie forward Brandon "Grasshopper" Wallace landed the 14th roster spot. The Celtics still are one shy of a maximum 15-man roster, which allows them to add a player if needed. Coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday that cuts would be made next week, but changed his mind and asked director of basketball operations Danny Ainge to make roster moves.
"You never want to release guys," Rivers said after yesterday's practice. "But I thought we needed to get down to the numbers we're starting the season with. That was important for me. The Dahntay decision was the toughest because he is a veteran and he could probably help our team more. Maybe later Brandon can, not even this year. That's a tough one."
Wallace has scored 2 points in 26 minutes in five preseason games. The 6-foot-9-inch, 203-pounder was undrafted out of South Carolina this year. The Jackson, S.C., native has been nicknamed "Grasshopper" by teammate Kevin Garnett because of his leaping ability and welcomes the idea of getting seasoning with the expansion Development League team in Utah.
"I still have a ways to go," said Wallace. "I don't want to be here for a short period of time. I'm going to try to stay."
Said Rivers: "He has a chance, I don't think so any time soon. He has a chance to develop into a defender who can play multiple positions. So I like that."
Rivers said having one open roster spot gives the Celtics the ability to add a player if needed. But both Rivers and Ainge said there are no recently waived players or free agents who have piqued their interest.
Rasheed skepticalOutspoken Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace isn't certain Boston will make the playoffs even with Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce, and he took a shot at the Celtics' supporting cast.
"They need to worry about making the playoffs first," Wallace told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "This is no knock on those three guys they have, but they don't have a point guard, center, or bench. They gave it away in the trade. I'll be [expletive] if you can build a playoff-winning team during the offseason, it can't be done."
On Garnett, Allen, and Pierce, Wallace added: "They're not going to be able to play all 48 minutes . . . There's a whole lot of ifs and a whole lot of questions with them."
Perkins returnsCeltics center Kendrick Perkins was back at practice despite recent concerns about his left hamstring. Perkins, Allen, Garnett, and Pierce are expected to play in tonight's exhibition finale against visiting Cleveland. Perkins sat out the previous three preseason games as a precaution.
"I was surprised [Perkins] practiced," Rivers said. "[Athletic trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] said he was fine. I asked twice. That's just not anything you screw with, tight hamstrings or legs."
After hopes of practicing lightly yesterday didn't materialize, Celtics center Scot Pollard now hopes to practice Sunday and said there is an "outside chance of starting to play in the next week or so" after being hampered with a left ankle injury. The 6-10, 287-pounder also said he ran at a 9 1/2 level on the treadmill Wednesday, but his ankle started to bother him after about 1 1/2 miles.
On being available for the season-opener against Washington a week from today, Pollard said: "The training staff would maybe disagree with that. But my personal goal is to be in a uniform with Doc Rivers having the ability to put [me] in a game."
Walker reactionOn ex-Celtic Antoine Walker being dealt from Miami to Minnesota in a trade that also sent center ex-Celtics Mark Blount and Ricky Davis to Miami, Pierce said: "That's a good trade for Miami. You get two proven guys, Ricky Davis and Mark Blount. Obviously, they've added some scoring and they got a little help with those two guys. I feel bad for Antoine because he went to a situation I don't think is good for him." . . . Six NBA security officials spoke with the Celtics players for about 90 minutes about off-court issues after practice and broke them up into group for discussions and role playing. "It was just an education on all the different trouble that players can find themselves in around the league, how it can be avoided, and making better choices," Ainge said . . . Rivers passed out South African-made wristbands to players and coaches with the word "Ubunto" on it. The Celtics are using the Zulu term denoting unity and family as their slogan.
Posey to be repaid?James Posey may eventually get some money back for being suspended by the NBA for the Nov. 2 opener against the Wizards. But he is still going to miss the game.
An official with the players association, attorney Ron Klempner, acknowledged yesterday the union does not have the time to put Posey's case before an arbitrator before the Celtics' opener. Thus, Posey will sit.
"It's tough," said Posey yesterday. "I have to deal with it. That's just what happens . . . Of course, I want to be out there at the start of the season. But that's the price I have to pay."
The Celtics' forward was suspended by the NBA Aug. 31 for pleading no contest to a reckless driving charge from last April. Posey made the plea to clear the matter as he headed into free agency. He was not driving a car when he was charged. Posey's agent and the players association said they would appeal the matter, and filed the paperwork last month, saying they were certain the arbitrator would overturn the suspension once he heard all the facts.
In addition to sitting out the game, Posey also loses 1/90th of this year's salary of $3.206 million, or roughly $35,622. The appeals process will attempt to recover that amount. The union also is trying to recover additional fine money Posey lost last year for not meeting Miami coach Pat Riley's body fat benchmarks.
Peter May of the Globe staff contributed to this report.