Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Training in Italy this summer for Russia’s Spartak Saint Petersburg squad, Lasme — a citizen of Gabon — was informed that if he didn’t return to the United States and land a year-long job, he could lose his residency.
“My wife and my baby are American,” the 27-year-old Lasme said after Sunday’s 91-87 win over the Raptors. “To get a chance to see them, I basically have to get a job here.”
Playing for teams in Serbia and Tel Aviv ever since he failed to make the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat in 2007-08, Lasme decided to return to the U.S., even if that meant a “big, big, big” pay cut.
“I had to make a choice between seeing my family or not seeing my family and taking that much money,” said the 6-foot-8, 220-pound former UMass forward. “For me, the choice is obvious. I’m gonna see my family.”
Doc is going out of his way to praise this kid. Of course… he's not really a kid. He's a 27 year-old man with a wife and a kid.
And let me tell you… there's nothing you can do to stop a man on a mission for his family. That's not only a great motivator… maybe the best motivator aside for fighting for your own life… it's damn a near unfair one. How can you compete with a guy who is willing to do anything to keep his residency to see his wife and kid?
That said… I wonder how the Celtics are going to treat this. Are they going to give him that 15th spot… or are they going to take advantage of that new rule and tuck him away in Maine since they know he'll do it. This way, they can essentially keep 2 guys instead of just the one.
For example, if they keep Lasme on the roster and turn to Von Wafer or Mario West and say "Hey, wanna play for the Red Claws?"… they run the risk of both of those guys saying "thanks, but I'm just gonna go play overseas." BUT, say they keep Wafer… they can tuck Lasme away in Maine to get some good playing time while giving Wafer more time to figure things out.
Wafer didn't look great last night, but he looked better than he has in the past. He actually drove the lane, hit a 3, and made at least a couple of solid defensive plays. It was nothing spectacular, but its enough to show improvement. And with Delonte West missing the first 10 games of the year AND dealing with back spasms… Wafer might just become Delonte insurance.
So the question becomes.. to the Celtics reward Lasme's effort, dedication and motivation… or do they take advantage of it. You can make a case for either. And even though the latter seems a bit on the slimy side… that's business. And if you've got a player willing to do something that others aren't… you HAVE to consider it if you're Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers. Because you can always cut Wafer (or Mario West) later on and recall Lasme should you need to.
On Page 2… Jermaine O'Neal and Big Baby have a contest going
Standing next to each other on one side of the paint, Boston Celtics teammates Jermaine O'Neal and Glen Davis saw, at precisely the same moment, a Sixers ball-handler ready to drive from the opposite baseline.
Like two shoppers racing for a must-have Christmas gift on Black Friday, the two practically pushed each other out of the way trying to scramble over and draw an offensive foul.
In a way, it seemed appropriate. These two figure to be pushing each other to take charges all season long.
"It's a contest this year: Who can draw the most charges," O'Neal said after the game with a big grin. "And I believe I'm going to win it."
I like this… because this is based on solid defense and the team concept. It forces you to be crisp on your rotations and see the floor.
So while on the surface this is a fun little contest to see who can draw the most charges… it is, at its roots, a constant drill that will force these guys to evaluate every play defensively, anticipate the opponent's next move, and beat him to the punch. It's a chess game.
I like what Jermaine is doing so far. His offense isn't quite there yet… but that'll come in time. But the other stuff is looking great. He's rebounding, defending and blocking shots. That's all hustle and effort stuff.
The rest of the links
Herald: It's a start, Jermaine O'Neal | Celtics game for anything | Mixes emotions about Iverson's move to Turkey | Globe: O'Neal missing something | Celtics fall to Sixers | CSNNE: Bradley reflects on NBA debut | Davis looks to raise his game | On the KG silent treatment | ESPN Boston: Postgame Notes: Bradley reflects on debut | First impressions: Philly 103, Celtics 92 | WEEI: The Celtics bizarro bench