Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Pregame notes: Wafer's contract guaranteed
By Chris Forsberg
BOSTON -- Von Wafer's cell phone didn't ring before Wednesday's game against the San Antonio Spurs. And with other bench players around the league being phoned to pick up their pink slips on the day contracts went guaranteed, that was a good thing.
Or as Wafer deadpanned: "Any time I’ve been called to go to the gym, it hasn’t been good."
It's been a tumultuous three months in Boston, with Wafer fending off charges for his roster spot in the preseason, then getting into a locker-room tussle with Delonte West early in the regular season and enduring plenty of bench time while coach Doc Rivers waited for him to buy into Boston's defense-first system.
But now Wafer (and West, whose contract was also non-guaranteed) can get comfortable. Maybe even unpack the rest of his moving boxes.
Wafer said he was unaware of Wednesday's deadline until a reporter informed him of his good fortune before tip-off.
"It's good, he earned it," Rivers said of Wafer's minimum deal being guaranteed. "He earned the right to be here. He's contributed to our wins. Even before he was playing, he's been working on being a better player each day in practice. He's been good."
A couple other pregame quick hits:
* Rivers confirmed that Kevin Garnett resumed basketball activities with some light shooting and said he's been working with strength coach Bryan Doo, doing some running to maintain his cardio. Rivers did not, however, have any sort of update on the original two-week window the team offered for Garnett's absence.
"No, I don't know," Rivers said. "I haven't even checked on Kevin. I know he's shooting now, so that's good. I don't think that the time frame -- two weeks -- I don't even know when that is. Next Wednesday? OK, hopefully he's back in two weeks. That's really all I know. We have so many games right now, that's the last thing I'm thinking about."
The Celtics play six games in eight days, including Wednesday's showdown between the two best teams (record-wise) in the NBA.
* Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn't sound like the coach of a team that's a league-best 29-5, not on the heels of a loss to the New York Knicks in which he pulled his starters late in the game. "We're a significant notch below the big boys, and, of course, Boston being one of the big boys. Boston is third in defensive field goal percentage. Those are the kind of stats we used to have defensively. Right now, I think we're a good basketball team. We have to step up defensively. Luckily, it's early. Maybe I can get these things across."