Tuesday, July 6, 2010
A lengthy wait
By Chris Forsberg
AP Photo/John RaouxORLANDO -- It was sort of like a grand reopening.
Two years after being drafted, big things are expected of 7-foot Semih Erden.
Just more than two years ago, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge introduced Semih Erden to the media in the days after the team selected him with the 60th -- and final -- pick of the 2008 draft.
An afterthought ever since, Ainge beamed like a proud father as he reintroduced Erden to reporters Monday night in Boston's makeshift locker room following the team's 87-82 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in their summer league opener at the RVD Sportsplex.
Erden officially signed with the Celtics on Monday, inking a deal that should pay him the rookie minimum of $473,604 this season.
Flanked by his manager and translator, Tolga Tugsavul, Erden engaged in a brief Q&A that was as rigid as his first performance in green. The 7-footer started at center, but labored at times over 22 minutes, scoring two points on 1-of-4 shooting with four rebounds and two turnovers.
Erden admitted he wasn't quite ready for the summer league. He's coming off a season in which his Turkish team -- Fenerbahce Ulker -- won the league title and he's already thinking ahead to the upcoming FIBA World Championships, which will be hosted in his native country.
It's clear the Celtics envision Erden as a bit of a project and are preaching patience. Summer league coach Austin Ainge shared his father's enthusiasm for Erden.
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