Ime Udoka is on the Celts radar
July 20, 2010, 4:29 pm
By A. Sherrod Blakely
It's no secret that the Boston Celtics have a gaping hole in their
roster for a defensive-minded perimeter defender. And in all
likelihood, it'll have to be a player willing to accept a salary for
the veteran's minimum.
Sacramento's Ime Udoka may in fact be that player.
Udoka, who will be 33 years old next month, is a player that the C's have had preliminary discussions about acquiring.
However, his agent Mark Bartelstein, made it clear that no deal is imminent.
"There have been some talks, but nothing close to being done," Bartelstein told CSNNE.com.
Udoka, a five-year veteran, appeared in 69 games with two starts last season for the Kings.
Udoka's emergence as an NBA player was the stuff you find conjured up out of some Hollywood studio.
Born in Nigeria, Udoka spent his formative years growing up in
Portland, Ore. He attended Portland State University, but went
undrafted when he graduated in 2002.
He spent the next four years bouncing between brief NBA stints (12
games with the Los Angeles Lakers and New York), D-League teams and
Europe before finally getting a chance to play for his hometown team,
the Portland Trail Blazers.
Udoka was the last player invited to Portland's camp in 2006, and the
only reason he got that invite was because another player, Aaron Miles,
failed a physical.
At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Udoka wowed the Blazers with his play
defensively and eventually landed a coveted roster spot that he then
translated into a starting job.
After starting 75 games for the Blazers, Udoka spent the next two seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.
He re-signed with the Blazers prior to the 2009-2010 season, but was waived before the season started.
About a month later, he signed with Sacramento.
While Udoka would address the team's need to add a defender on the
perimeter, the Celtics have a few more players still available that
they have rated ahead of Udoka.
Matt Barnes, Larry Hughes, Antoine Wright and Rasual Butler are all
players that Boston has had interest in for most of the free agency
period, although Barnes is expected to sign with either Toronto or
Cleveland while the others are probably in line to make more than what
the C's are in position to offer.
With the addition of Jermaine O'Neal, Boston now has five big men under
contract - Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, O'Neal and
rookie Simih Erden.
They may look to add one more big body to the mix.
While they still remain a longshot, Kwame Brown's agent said the C's aren't totally off the radar just yet.
"With Danny and Doc, there's obviously some interest there with Kwame,"
Bartelstein said. "We hope to get something done soon with Kwame, but
we're talking with a lot of different teams right now. We could get
something done today, it could take several weeks. You just never
really know with free agency. But no, I wouldn't say the Celtics are
totally out of the picture."
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sherrodbcsn.