By A.Sherrod Blakely
WALTHAM Carlos Arroyo had just finished his first practice as a member of the Boston Celtics Tuesday afternoon.
As he left the floor, he saw a huge semi-circle of media in one corner of the room, all surrounding a Celtics-themed banner on the wall.
"They're waiting for me?" he asked.
As he made his way towards the crowd, he asked a CSNNE.com reporter, "Is it usually like this?"
Welcome to Boston, Carlos Arroyo!
Just as they were at his last stop, Miami, the expectations -- much like the media horde -- are large around these parts.
And Arroyo, waived by the Heat last week, wouldn't want it any other way.
He's in his ninth NBA season, which is damn near a lifetime for a player from a small college (Florida International) that went undrafted.
The 6-foot-3 guard has made good money throughout his career, and has achieved moderate levels of success both as a reserve and as a starter.
But he's not getting any younger. He knows his days as an NBA player are few and far between. So the sense of urgency, not surprisingly, is pretty high.
But the goal, Arroyo admits, is pretty simple.
He's here to do what he's never been able to do, and that's be part of an NBA championship team.
The closest he came was during the 2004-05 season with the Pistons, who lost their bid at winning back-to-back NBA titles when they lost in the Finals in seven games to San Antonio.
Like most of the players on that team, the pain of coming up short while coming so close, isn't easily shaken.
That was among the many reasons why the native of Puerto Rico was so excited about being a part of the Miami Heat.
So when the Heat opted to waive him last week in order to make room for Mike Bibby, Arroyo's immediate focus was to latch on with another title contender.
In came Danny Ainge and the Celtics, offering him the two things he most covets now -- a chance at a title and an opportunity to play.
With Delonte West's knack for getting nicked up this season, the C's were concerned about having a reliable backup for Rajon Rondo.
Adding Arroyo achieved two things for the Celtics.
Arroyo gives them a player who can help lower Rondo's minutes, currently at a career-high 37.9 per game.
With all the changes Boston has made to its bench, having Arroyo at the point guard position also gives them a solid veteran who can unite the ever-evolving second unit.
Coach Doc Rivers describes Arroyo as a "veteran, solid, not going to overwhelm you with his athleticism."
Rivers added, "I thought he was a crafty player in Miami. That'll bode well for him here."
It certainly didn't work for him with the Heat.
Arroyo began the season as Miami's starting point guard.
But his role with the team seemed to start fading at the same time the Heat endured a four-game losing streak in January.
Arroyo averaged 20.3 minutes per game in Miami. During the four-game losing streak, his playing time dipped to 14.3.
Miami went on to win three of its next four, with Arroyo slowly but surely fading out of the rotation.
While Arroyo admits he was disappointed in his drop in playing time, he holds no grudge or ill will towards the Heat or head coach Erik Spoelstra.
"To be honest, I don't know what happened," Arroyo said. "I went from starting to not playing. I gotta respect that. That's coach's decision. My job was to stay ready. It wasn't about me, or anybody else, but the team. I'm a professional when it comes to that. I was just waiting for my time. Hopefully my time is now."
And while it would make a lot of sense for him to come into this situation looking to make a point or prove something to the Heat, Arroyo maintains that's not on his mind right now.
"At this point in my career, everybody knows what I'm capable of," he said. "Hopefully I can do a little bit more here and help the team. That's what I came here for. I'm excited to get things going, and hopefully win a championship with Boston."
And that will result in even larger media crowds than the one that engulfed him on Tuesday.
"That's all right," quipped Arroyo to CSNNE.com. "I've seen this all year."