|Ray Allen has the best view in the house of Celtics center Kendrick Perkins's block of the Nuggets' J.R. Smith. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)|
Signs point to Moore signing
Source says that center leaning toward Boston
DENVER - While the agent for free agent center Mikki Moore said yesterday that his client will choose the team he will play for after clearing waivers this morning, an NBA source said there's a good chance Moore will end up with the Celtics.
The source said late last night that there's a 90 percent chance that Moore is coming to Boston. The lure of the Celtics was said to be their status as defending champion and their solid opportunity to repeat.
Moore's agent, Mark Bartlestein, had said yesterday the Celtics were one of as many as four teams Moore had on his list. Bartlestein also mentioned Denver, New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio, and Phoenix as suitors.
The Celtics have made an undisclosed offer but understood there was a lot of interest from other teams that could have more money to offer the veteran big man.
"He's just mulling over everything," said Bartlestein, who originally had indicated his client would clear waivers yesterday. "He has some good deals out there and he is going to decide what he wants to do. The Celtics would be very attractive to any free agent. They will be in the heat of things for a crown. Doc Rivers does a great job."
Asked if he expected to add any free agents soon, the Celtics coach said before last night's win, "I hope. I can't talk about it and don't want to talk about it because I just don't know. There's been nothing done yet, so we are just going to keep plugging away at it."
One team that may be stepping up its interest is the Nuggets, since center Nene missed last night's game against Boston and is day to day with a bruised right knee.
Moore, 33, was waived by Sacramento Feb. 19 to make room for guard Will Solomon. He averaged 3.5 points and 3 rebounds in 16.2 minutes in 46 games this season, shooting 52.1 percent. The 7-foot, 225-pounder played in three games for the Celtics on a 10-day contract in the 2002-03 season.
"He plays with a lot of energy," Celtics center Kendrick Perkins said. "He's a good shot blocker. He can shoot the 15-footer a little bit. He's a pretty good defender."
In Moore, the Celtics would add a needed veteran with length to fill the void left by P.J. Brown. They do not have a true backup center right now, and with injuries to Kevin Garnett (knee) and Tony Allen (thumb), they have only 11 healthy players on the active roster.
Asked if there was a desperate need for a backup center, Perkins said, "If we weren't No. 1 in the East, then I would say different. But with the record we have now and the experience we have with our young guys, I think [Glen Davis] has done a great job backing me up at the center spot."
The Celtics have two roster spots available.
A player who has been on Boston's radar is suspended Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, who is slated to have an arbitration hearing in New York today regarding the $400,000 fine the Knicks handed him for allegedly refusing to play at Detroit on Thanksgiving. The incident eventually led to his exile.
It's possible Marbury and Knicks president Donnie Walsh could discuss a buyout, too. If the Knicks do not request waivers on Marbury before Sunday, he will be ineligible to play for another team in the playoffs.
"I'm just limping a little bit," said Allen, who expects to play against the Clippers tomorrow. "It got a little tight, so I just have to keep it moving."
Brian Scalabrine left the game at the end of the first quarter with a cervical strain. He likely suffered the injury when he was fouled by Johan Petro with 3:35 left in the first quarter. He made the two free throws but was replaced by Glen Davis.
"I strained or sprained my neck," Scalabrine said. "They held me out more for precautionary reasons. As of right now, you just take it day by day. Based on my [concussion] history is why they held me out. But I don't feel the same way. I don't have a headache. I'm not sensitive to light."
Marc J. Spears can be reached at email@example.com