Ryan Gomes had front-row seats for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night at TD Banknorth Garden. But it was a different vantage point than the home bench, where he sat when not playing for the Celtics from 2005-07. Since Gomes was one of five players sent to Minnesota in the Kevin Garnett trade, the forward joked he might lobby for a championship ring if Boston wins it all.
"If I'm unable to get one by the time I retire, I might have to go back and get a few lawyers and see if they can work something out for me," said Gomes. "But when I sit back and relax 20 years from now, I can say I was traded for one of the best power forwards that played the game. That's a notch I have on my belt."
While Gomes enjoyed watching the Celtics' 88-79 victory over the Pistons and seeing the progress made by former teammates Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, and Leon Powe, it wasn't all fun.
"It was a little tough, but it's only my third year in the league and hopefully I can be in that same situation one day, fighting to get a championship," said Gomes. "The organization wanted to win now. We [he and fellow traded players Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, and Sebastian Telfair] understood that. These guys, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, they're not getting any younger. They wanted to get them while they still have things to bring to the table and win it now. I talked to a lot of people who were excited to see me at the game and had followed me and all the guys that left Boston this past season.
"Of course, I wish I could have been a part of what they're doing. But I know it's a business . . . So, I didn't have too many hard feelings when I got traded because I thought it would give me a chance to showcase more. It turned out to be not the season we would have liked in Minnesota with the wins and losses [22-60]. It was like the Celtics all over again with the youth."
Gomes entered this offseason as a restricted free agent, hoping his year in Minnesota, in which he averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds in 82 games (74 starts), impressed the Timberwolves or another team. Until he knows where he's headed next season, Gomes will continue working on his game in his hometown of Waterbury, Conn.
He admits he should probably work on his golf game, too, since he will host the inaugural Hoops for Heart Health golf tournament June 17 at Southington (Conn.) Country Club. The tournament will benefit the nonprofit organization founded by Gomes to help deal with the problem of sudden cardiac arrest in high school, college, and professional sports.
"The good thing is it's a foursome," said Gomes. "So my ball could be the worst ball, but I've got three other guys."
Shira Springer can be reached at email@example.com.