Alston wanted to play for Celtics
|02.05.10 at 12:44 am ET|
Earlier this season, there was speculation that the Celtics could make a move to acquire Rafer Alston after he was bought out by the Nets. The theory was that he could be a veteran backup to Rajon Rondo, the same role the Celtics had filled with Sam Cassell and Stephon Marbury the previous two seasons.
Turns out, it was actually the other way around. Rather than the Celtics going after Alston, Alston told his camp after the buyout that he would like to play in Boston. He is “pretty sure” the Celtics knew of his interest, but he never had a conversation with the organization.
“I think it was my interest,” he told WEEI.com. “But I don’t think Doc [Rivers] would have opposed it knowing that you can grab a guy that can give you minutes at backup point for this team, and who’s a willing passer and just a natural point guard. Then understand, I played for [assistant coach Tom] Thibodeau before in Houston. So I’d always had them on my mind before I came here.”
The 33-year-old didn’t lose any time holding out for the C’s, though. The Heat scooped him up almost immediately after he cleared waivers in early January. Alston could not turn down the opportunity to start for a playoff contender, nor could he stress enough how happy he is on his new team: “I got blown away by coming here with the immediate option to play instead of waiting it out.”
There is an element of surprise in Alston’s interest in the Celtics, though. He has been involved in some heated moments at TD Garden. Last season he slapped Eddie House in the head during the Eastern Conference semifinals as a member of the Magic. Just Wednesday night, he was issued a technical foul in the Celtics-Heat game.
But Alston says that has nothing to do with ill will. It’s about the competition.
“I enjoy watching them on League Pass,” he admitted. “Playing against them, I know it’s going to be a competitive game. We always chat at each other, but deep down I always care about each of the players in this league. So even if I did come, I hope they wouldn’t have taken the chatter back and forth that we all do against each other personally. Again, I have a great respect for the level of competition that they bring.”
Alston also has a good understanding of the Celtics. He has faced them enough times over his career to see where he could have fit in. While he believes Rondo is more than qualified to run the floor himself — “He’s an All-Star,” Alston said. “He’s having a wonderful career.” — Alston thinks having a true point guard on the bench could have had its benefits, too.
“Not back up but just complement, maybe get him [Rondo] some much-needed rest,” he explained. “Sometimes there are nights that he’s out there giving 40 minutes, and get him some rest. And also, you’d help the second-unit guys. You can keep some guys in their natural positions. You can keep [Eddie] House in his natural position; you can keep [Marquis] Daniels in his natural position, guys that are flirting between playing shooting guard.
“That’s one thing that I learned in this game. If you can keep everyone at their natural and most comfortable position, them succeeding is a better percentage.”
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