Remember a few months ago when I wasn't alone in wondering if the Boston Celtics could help turn Delonte West's(notes) career around? Could the proper combination of prescribed medicine, humility following his felony gun charge and subsequent 10-game suspension, and the close locker room cohesion in Boston actually do great things for West's psyche?
Sadly, it appears that was only wistful thinking. Here's Alex Kennedy at HoopsWorld:
During a three-on-three game with Avery Bradley(notes), Luke Harangody(notes), Semih Erden(notes) and assistant coach Tyronn Lue(notes), West began fouling [Von] Wafer each time the reserve guard touched the ball. West was increasingly physical to the point that Wafer exited to the locker room midway through the game. As he walked away, West barked obscenities and taunted Wafer.
After Wafer had showered and sat down at his locker, West approached from behind and threw a punch. Wafer didn't see the punch coming but quickly got off of the ground and connected on two punches of his own. He then wrestled West to the ground before being separated by the team's veterans.
Kennedy goes on to point out that Friday's incident greatly displeased C's captains Kevin Garnett(notes) and Paul Pierce(notes), and that team president Danny Ainge is considering waiving West and his non-guaranteed contract before he even gets a chance to serve out his 10-game suspension.
If true, it's a sad state of affairs. West just can't get it together long enough to contribute his significant talents to a team like Boston that could use them.
But -- again, if true -- how many chances are we supposed to give this guy? According to Kennedy, he was involved in a dust-up with Wafer (also an undersized shooting guard looking to cling to Boston's roster) last week. According to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, however, the resentment stemming from West's side went far beyond mere playing time battles:
According to SI scribe and former Celtic employee Chris Mannix, the team is "not expected to release West." Woj has pointed out that Delonte "has been living up to his medical requirements with Celtics and cutting him hasn't yet been discussed."
From the Boston Globe, Danny Ainge confirmed West and Wafer were involved in a fight after the shootaround earlier Friday and goes on record to say that the team will "move forward" without any roster changes, and then proceeds to slap the heck out of Alex Kennedy's story:
"I did read that story and there was a lot of lies in that story," Ainge said. "Things were twisted. It’s not true. We’re not releasing Delonte. There have not been any other of these altercations that have happened this year.
"Guys trash talk and that kind of stuff, but I’m not aware of any other altercation among any players at all during the course of the year. These things happen. It’s not acceptable behavior. We’ll just handle it internally and that’s it.
"Whoever wrote the story had something [against] Delonte. That’s for sure. There’s some untruths in that story."