Former Boston Celtics guard Keyon Dooling, who retired last summer and spent the first part of the 2012-13 season serving as the team's director of player development, signed Monday with the Memphis Grizzlies, according to his agent.
The 32-year-old Dooling, a veteran of 12 NBA seasons, initially re-signed with the Celtics on a one-year deal during the offseason, but elected to step away from the game soon after. Boston negotiated a buyout of his minimum contract, which left it unable to consider his services when Rajon Rondo was lost for the season due to an ACL injury.
Dooling had expressed a desire to resume his career when Rondo went down and Celtics coach Doc Rivers later suggested it was language in the collective bargaining agreement that prevented Boston from giving that true consideration (players typically must wait until the following season to be re-signed by a team that waives or buys them out).
"Keyon wants to thank the Celtics organization for everything," said his agent Kenge Stevenson. "First class from top to bottom."
On Twitter, Dooling wrote, "I want to thank Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers and the entire Celtics Nation. Once a Celtic always a Celtic."
Dooling averaged 4 points and 1.1 assists over 14.4 minutes per game in 46 appearances during the 2011-12 season. Despite battling injuries and inconsistent playing time, he emerged as a vocal leader in the Celtics' locker room. That, combined with his mentor-like role with Rondo, was a big reason the team desired to bring him back this season.