Clippers point guard Sam Cassell is literally willing to pay the price to become a member of the Celtics.
Cassell told The Boston Globe this morning that his agent, David Falk, has had conversations with the Clippers about a potential buyout and he is interested in joining the Celtics if such happens. The 38-year-old is making $6.15 million this season in the final year of his contract with the Clippers. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has said he is interested in finding the right veteran point guard and is rumored to have interest in Cassell.
Ive earned enough, said Cassell, on his willingness to accept a buyout. Ive saved a little money. I put money away. I just want to win. Winning is the most important thing to me.
Falk is out of the country and wasnt available for comment. Cassell said he personally hasnt had conversations with the Clippers about a buyout and has left that up to his agent. The Celtics do not have the right pieces to make a trade for the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder and would need a buyout to acquire the 15-year-old veteran via free agency.
Cassell said a buyout is the only way I can get (to Boston). An NBA source said the Clippers do not have any trades or buyout on the table for Cassell. Ainge does not comment on other teams players.
When asked if the Clippers would buy out a player, Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, Sr., said: Thats not our stance.
Cassell was averaging 13.2 points, 4.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds and a .255 3-point percentage in 26.2 minutes per game while starting 28 of 33 games for Los Angeles entering tonight. The 2004 NBA All-Star also entered tonight averaging 15.9 points, 6.1 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 971 regular-season games. The Baltimore native has played in 115 playoff games and won two NBA championships with the Rockets.
I think Id be a nice addition (to Boston), Cassell said. It would be fun, but I dont even know if Im wanted that far yet. Im playing for the Clippers now.
Cassell played with Celtics injured forward Kevin Garnett in Minnesota and guard Ray Allen in Milwaukee. He also has worked out in the off-season with Boston forward Paul Pierce in Los Angeles and center Kendrick Perkins in Houston.
Whatever happens, happens, Cassell said. But it is a good situation, the Boston situation, with the pieces and (Garnett) gets healthy. Ive played with him before. Ive played with Ray Allen before. I dont think the adjustment would be tough for me. I get with Paul during the summer (in Los Angeles). I get with Perk during the summer. There are a lot of guys on that team that I am familiar with
I think its realistic. Its matter of just time. I dont want to say too much. Im optimistic about the whole situation. Thats why I got David Falk. Thats what he loves to do.
Cassell and Garnett still have a close relationship. When asked if he has talked to Garnett about playing in Boston, Cassell said: Garnett is a superstitious kind of guy. He doesnt say too much. He wouldnt mind it. I know that for a fact.
Celtics second-year point guard Rajon Rondo has been playing well and would still start if a veteran point guard is acquired. The likes of ex-Celtics point guard Gary Payton and ex-NBA point guards Travis Best and Randy Livingston have said they would like to join the Celtics, too. When asked about backing up Rondo, Cassell said: Whatever. Ive been told its not who starts the game its who finishes.
At the end of the Clippers shoot around, Cassell looked in the rafters at TD Banknorth Garden at all the retired Celtics jerseys and pondered what it would be like playing for the storied franchise.
You got to wonder, Cassell said. All the tradition is in the rafters. Maybe not in this building, but in the rafters. Its crazy. You see these guys DJ (Dennis Johnson) (Cedric) Maxwell, Chief (Robert Parish). You got so many numbers (retired) you dont even have numbers you can wear.