BOSTON As Semih Erden walked the streets of Boston on Saturday, he was pleasantly surprised to know that folks around town still remembered him.
Having played just 37 games for the C's last season, Erden, now with the Cleveland Cavaliers, has fond memories of his time with the Green Team.
Being a free agent this summer, Erden tells CSNNE.com that the Celtics will be on his short list of teams he'll consider playing for.
"Why not?" Erden said. "We will see what happens. I was in the street yesterday, everybody know me; that was exciting, they did not forget me. I was like, 'oh, that's nice!' To be here, this was my first (NBA) experience. I'm happy."
While there will likely be a few teams also interested in Erden, the Cavaliers are not expected to be one of them.
Erden comes into tonight's game having not played (coaches decision) in Cleveland's last three games. For the season, he's averaging 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
Cleveland coach Byron Scott doesn't mince words in describing why he has elected to not play Erden.
"I was a little disappointed (in Erden)," Scott said. "This stint of three games that he hasn't played, what I'm hoping is that gets through his head, and when he gets another opportunity, he'll take advantage of it.
Scott added, "the same thing I told Semih. If he plays hard every night, he has a chance to be a good player."
Prior to the season, Scott even gave some thought to Erden as the team's starting center.
"He has to play a lot harder," Scott said.
While Erden certainly had his flaws and shortcomings with the Celtics, he often showed the kind of toughness that a number of his teammates lacked.
For the bulk of his stint with the C's, he played with a shoulder injury that he put off having surgery for until the offseason.
And there were times seven actually when Erden had to play with the starters due to injuries.
To his credit, Erden made the most of those games, one of which being a 102-101 win over Philadelphia on Dec. 9, 2010.
In that game, Erden had eight points and three rebounds, a strong performance considering he had a handful of not-so-impressive performances leading up to that game.
Kevin Garnett was among those to praise Erden following that game.
"I think he (Erden) plays better with the first group," Garnett said at the time. "I think he knows what to expect. We know what to expect out of him."
Because of that comfort level by both, a return to Boston wouldn't be that big a stretch for the 7-footer from Turkey.
Prior to tonight's game, Erden spent some time in the C's locker room chatting up Garnett, Paul Pierce and others.
"I miss Boston," Erden said. "It's good to be here."