Full circle for Finley, Daniels
Ex-Mavericks together again
It’s been years since Marquis Daniels was a Dallas Maverick and even longer for Michael Finley. But good-natured hazing transcends time and apparently teams.
Soaked in sweat after getting some pregame shots up on the parquet for the first time in Celtics warm-ups yesterday, Finley had just finished his introductory news conference, wiping his face with a small towel as he entered the locker room.
On the way to his locker he “accidentally’’ threw the towel out, landing it on Daniels’s face.
“Still my rook,’’ Finley said, grinning a day after turning 37.
“Man, what!’’ said Daniels, 29 years old and a six-year veteran himself. “I’ve got rollover rookie minutes.’’
In 2003-04, Finley was in his eighth season and was second on Dallas in scoring behind Dirk Nowitzki when Daniels was an undrafted rookie who had caught coach Don Nelson’s eye.
The circumstances are different six seasons later. Finley, winner of a championship ring with the San Antonio Spurs in 2007, is now on the back end of a 14-year career trying to bring experience and shooting to a team seeking its second NBA title in three seasons.
Daniels is confident in what Finley adds to a locker room.
“He’s going to help out in a lot of different ways,’’ Daniels said. “He’s a veteran player, he knows the game well, he’s smart. He’s going to help out a lot.’’
Having just arrived in Boston Saturday, Finley admitted his role was unclear.
He sat on the Celtics’ bench in a suit last night, watching his teammates rally to beat the Wizards, 86-83.
Coach Doc Rivers said Finley’s debut could possibly be tomorrow in Milwaukee.
“We’re just going to wait and see how comfortable he can get with things and how quickly we can do it,’’ Rivers said, adding that March was probably the worst month to try to integrate a player with so few practices.
Finley said he would try to ease his way in. His role with the Spurs diminishing, he asked to be waived, leading Boston to swoop in and sign him. But Finley said he knew he’d have to simply fit in on a team full of veterans and clearly defined roles.
“Coach was pretty honest with me, which I can respect, that he doesn’t know how he’s going to use me,’’ Finley said. “I have to respect that. I’m coming to a team that’s already established.
“They’ve put in X amount of games here, so for me to come in and try to establish a role right away would be crazy for me to even think that. But Coach has put me at ease. Just when my situation comes, go out there and play hard.’’
Finley and Rivers are both products of Chicago’s East Proviso High School. Finley’s sister was a cheerleader during Rivers’s high school days. In a sense, he’s watched Finley ever since.
“I remember literally the day he was born,’’ Rivers said. “[Finley’s sister] was the captain of our cheerleading team for three years. She had to baby-sit him all the time. I remember everything about him.
“I watched him, grade school, high school, and college at Wisconsin. One of the things I’ve always admired from afar is just how he’s carried himself. He’s carried himself in just a great way in the NBA. Every coach that coached him loved him, loved his character. Everyone says how good he is in the locker room. When you can have that, you go ahead and grab it.’’
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told Rivers he wanted to get a look at Landry, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“Marcus hadn’t played, he needed to get a look at him because he has to make a decision in the summertime,’’ Rivers said. “This way Danny gets a free look, and that will allow him to make a pretty good decision this summer.’’