LAS VEGAS -- The Celtics agreed to terms with free agent forward Brian Scalabrine, two Eastern Conference sources and a source close to the forward confirmed yesterday.
Under terms of the deal, Scalabrine will earn $15 million over the next five years. Although teams could begin free agent negotiations July 1, they cannot officially sign players until July 22. For that reason, executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Scalabrine's agent, Bob Myers, declined to discuss Scalabrine joining the Celtics.
Ainge should be more familiar with Scalabrine than other available free agents since both share an interest in brain typing and regularly consult Jon Niednagel, a.k.a. the Brain Doctor. The 6-foot-9-inch, 235-pound Scalabrine credits Niednagel with guiding him to the 10 best performances of his career. The most memorable came in Game 5 of the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals against Detroit. In the Nets' triple-overtime victory, Scalabrine set career playoff highs for points (17), 3-pointers made and attempted (4 for 4), and field goals made and attempted (6 for 7). Undoubtedly, Ainge's belief in brain typing and Niednagel's involvement with the franchise were part of the attraction for Scalabrine.
According to one source, Scalabrine also thought the Celtics would be a good fit because of the role he envisioned playing. Scalabrine should earn minutes as a backup power forward. Last season, he averaged 6.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game. Over his four-year career since being drafted 35th overall out of Southern Cal, Scalabrine has averaged 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per contest.
With Scalabrine in the fold, the Celtics' free agent picture becomes significantly clearer. Scalabrine will use up $3 million of the Celtics' midlevel exception, leaving them with approximately $2 million to sign another player.
In other free agency news, according to a pair of Eastern Conference sources, the Celtics offered point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius $1.6 million for next season as part of a three-year deal worth close to $5 million. Those sources said the offer was turned down. Teams over the cap have a $1.6 million exception to use every other year. Boston did not use its exception last year.
Since the Celtics are intent on developing Al Jefferson and now have a backup power forward in Scalabrine, Antoine Walker appears on his way to another team. Look for the Celtics to try to execute a sign-and-trade with Walker as they fill out their roster.
Paul Pierce attended last night's summer league game between the Celtics and Clippers. He said he would talk about his future with the team after he met with coach Doc Rivers and Ainge over the weekend. Pierce said he wanted to talk with Rivers and Ainge to gain a better understanding of the Celtics' plans before commenting extensively.