Bittersweet homecoming for Wafer


Bittersweet homecoming for Wafer

By A. Sherrod Blakely

HOUSTON Von Wafer played with five teams prior to becoming a Boston Celtic this season.

But Houston will always stand out from the others.

And that, maybe more than anything else, makes tonight's game against the Rockets so difficult for Wafer who is out with a right calf injury.

"I can't lie, I had (this) day circled on my calendar," Wafer told

Wafer, who hopes to resume practicing with the C's by the end of this month, had his best season as a pro with the Rockets during the 2008-2009 season when he averaged 9.7 points while shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 39 percent on 3s.

Instead of sticking with the Rockets, Wafer soon found himself on a basketball odyssey that has taken him across the globe, and ultimately landed him in Boston.

And while he struggled to fit in initially with his new Celtics teammates, Wafer eventually won them over.

"Just worked hard," he said in explaining how the current C's have come to accept him. "I believe in myself and I think these guys like that. They know I'm not scared of any kind of challenge. I believe they respect that. I guess that's how I earned their respect, not backing down."

It was a similar approach he had during his days with the Rockets after he saw limited action with the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers.

While things haven't gone exactly how Wafer had planned, he's not complaining.

Those setbacks have only strengthened his faith in his skills as an NBA player, a skill set that first caught the attention of many when he was a member of the Rockets.

"It's going to be very emotional," Wafer said of tonight's game. "I'm going to be happy. Those people loved me, and I loved them back."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Celtics sign former Laker second-rounder Ryan Kelly

Celtics sign former Laker second-rounder Ryan Kelly

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics made one more roster move on Friday, but not the one many were anticipating.

Instead of trimming the training camp roster down to 15 players, the Celtics expanded it by signing Ryan Kelly.

The 6-foot-11 forward appeared in six games for the Atlanta Hawks during the preseason, averaging 4.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

A former second round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013, Kelly has appeared in 147 games with career averages of 6.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Boston already has a stacked roster at the power forward/center position, which is why they decided to waive second round pick and former Providence College star Ben Bentil earlier on Friday.

The addition of Kelly, on the surface at least, doesn't make a lot of sense.

But the Celtics are trying to build a team for the present while keeping an eye on the future.

When the Celtics waived Bentil, they did so with the knowledge that he was unlikely to sign with their Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

But with Kelly, the veteran big man will likely wind up with the Red Claws which will allow the Celtics to get a closer look at him without impacting their roster status which is currently at 16, one above the league-maximum.

The final roster spot will come down to James Young and R.J. Hunter. The Celtics have until 5 p.m. Monday to make a decision, a decision that team officials have repeatedly said in recent days will come down to the wire.