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So long, Scal

9/22/2010

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images

Brian Scalabrine and Tom Thibodeau reportedly won't be far apart this season.When Brian Scalabrine met with reporters in late June before a Celtics charity cruise event on Boston Harbor, he refused to comment on the potential end of the Scalabrine Era in Boston because he was hopeful he might find a way to sneak back onto the Celtics' roster for the 2010-11 season.

According to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, Scalabrine spent much of the summer working out in Boston, but as the Celtics' roster filled up, it soon became clear that he didn't have a future with the team.

The Scalabrine Era apparently came to a close Tuesday as a source confirmed to ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell that Scalabrine had agreed to a non-guaranteed deal to join the Chicago Bulls for training camp, reuniting him with first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau. Yahoo! Sports first reported the deal.

Scalabrine signed a five-year, $15 million contract with Boston in August of 2005. He appeared in 264 regular-season games, making 38 starts, while averaging 2.7 points and 1.5 rebounds per game during that span. A huge fan favorite, Scalabrine clearly preferred to return to Boston, but the team brought in a comparable body in second-round draft choice Luke Harangody to join an already beefed-up frontcourt that added Jermaine O'Neal and Shaquille O'Neal this offseason.

"There's no question I want to be back in Boston, no question, everyone knows that," Scalabrine said in June. "As far as me and Boston and the Celtics, whatever my role is going to be -- whether I start or make an unbelievable run in the playoffs like I did two years ago and contribute by playing 30 minutes per night, or not playing at all -- whatever they ask me to do, I'm all for it."

Even in June, he remained positive about whatever the future held for him.

"I'm just an optimistic guy," said Scalabrine. "If I don't have a job in the league and I gotta go to Europe, I'm optimistic. It's weird, right, in this league? ... If [I'm not back in Boston] I still have my wife, two kids, I'll still love them, still move on. I'm raising two little girls to become special people. That's how I look at it."

Scalabrine should be remembered for his finer moments in Boston, particularly his ability to step in regardless of layoff and eat minutes when others were injured. Remember, too, that Scalabrine delayed surgery on his shoulder at the end of the 2009-10 season, just to be available in case of emergency, and actually saw floor time in Game 7 of the NBA Finals (albeit, a mere minute). Alas, he'll be remembered more for his head-slapping moments (and one lack-of-hand-slapping moment) like this one...