Celtics sign Williams to beef up frontcourt bench
The Celtics’ bench facelift continued yesterday as Minnesota free agent forward Shelden Williams agreed to a one-year contract, according to an NBA source.
Williams, who averaged 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 45 games last season with Sacramento and the Timberwolves, will receive the veteran’s minimum of $1.306 million. Williams, 25, is a power forward, listed at 6 feet 9 inches, 250 pounds.
Four Celtic reserves - guards Tony Allen and Eddie House and forwards Glen Davis and Brian Scalabrine - from the 2007-08 championship season remain with the team.
The Celtics could re-sign Davis, a restricted free agent. Davis, who averaged 15.8 points as a starter in the playoffs, is awaiting offers expected to be well above the $711,000 he earned last season and possibly as high as a midlevel exception contract (about $5.8 million). Should Davis receive an offer in the range of the midlevel exception or less, the Celtics will probably match, so teams interested in Davis have been reluctant to make a bid until other options are explored.
Williams’s signing is not expected to affect Davis’s standing with the Celtics. Rasheed Wallace, Davis, Scalabrine, and Williams are expected to be the backups at power forward, though Wallace could be inserted in the starting lineup.
Williams, married to the WNBA’s Candace Parker, was born in Oklahoma City and was the fifth player selected in the 2006 draft by Atlanta after setting records at Duke. He is the Blue Devils all-time leader in rebounds (1,217) and blocked shots (422) and was the National Association of Basketball Coaches collegiate defensive player of the year in 2005 and ’06.
In his rookie season with the Hawks, Williams started 31 of 81 games, averaging 5.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in 18.7 minutes. Midway through the 2007-08 season, Williams was traded to the Kings along with Anthony Johnson, Tyronn Lue, and Lorenzen Wright for Mike Bibby. Last February, Sacramento dealt Williams and Bobby Brown to Minnesota for Calvin Booth and Rashad McCants.
The Celtics received some good news on second-round draft choice Lester Hudson, who sustained a broken finger during the Orlando Summer Pro League last month. He is expected to return to training in three weeks, according to agent Lance Young. Hudson backed up Gabe Pruitt in Orlando, scoring 15 points in 44 minutes in three games before being injured.
The waiving of Pruitt last week opened a spot on the Celtics’ roster for a point guard, and the Celtics are weighing whether to go with Hudson or a veteran free agent. Starting point guard Rajon Rondo’s backups are free agent Marquis Daniels, who has agreed to a contract with the Celtics, and House, but both are considered shooting guards.
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.