Brewer enjoying the view
He passed up Celtics for Mavs bench duty
The Celtics had plans for the defensive-minded Brewer, who was Knicks property for just a short time after three-plus years with the Timberwolves, to come off the bench and spell Paul Pierce at small forward during Boston’s stretch run.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers, a longtime mentor to Brewer, and team president Danny Ainge called the former University of Florida standout, and he said yesterday he found the offer enticing.
“I seriously considered the Celtics, a lot,’’ said Brewer, who ended up signing a two-year deal with Dallas and played in 13 regular-season games and six postseason games for the Mavericks. “And eventually I thought I was going to go to Boston. But then at the last minute we struck a nice deal with Dallas and we felt like this was the best situation for us.’’
Brewer is not expected to play a major role in the Finals, which begin tonight as Dallas visits Miami for Game 1, and he would have been used more extensively in Boston. But the Mavericks offered the former lottery pick those two years, meaning he would avoid free agency in this potentially tumultuous NBA summer.
“I had known Doc for a while and I met him while I was in college,’’ said Brewer, who helped the Gators win consecutive national titles. “It was kind of tough because I talked to Doc, talked to Danny, and thought, ‘Man, it would be nice to go there and play for Doc,’ with the relationship we already had and I would have had a chance to play a little bit, coming in with the second unit. It was a tough decision, but I felt like I could come in and help this team.’’
Instead of being a key contributor off the Celtics’ bench, Brewer has mostly watched the Mavericks’ improbable run to the Finals from the sideline. He has logged 23 playoff minutes, scoring 9 points.
“I haven’t played as much as I want but it’s been a great ride,’’ Brewer said. “I get a chance to play with guys like Dirk [Nowitzki], Jason Kidd, and just having the opportunity at winning a championship. I go from never being in the playoffs to being in the Finals now. You never know what could happen.’’
Butler is close The Mavericks’ Caron Butler has not played since Jan. 1 because of a torn right patellar tendon, but the swingman said he is close to returning and could make an appearance in the Finals.
If he does, it could change the tone of the series, as Butler is one of the team’s best defenders and still a productive scorer.
“I feel good in my workouts,’’ he said yesterday. “I’m moving well. I just have to stay on it and see what happens. It’s bittersweet to be on this stage because obviously you want to play in the first game. But I still think I have an opportunity to play. I remain optimistic.’’
Wade says he’s OK Miami’s Dwyane Wade began his media session yesterday by saying, “I’m not hurt. Get that one out of the way. Move on.’’
It had been speculated the past few days that Wade was injured during the Eastern Conference finals against Chicago. Wade, who had surgery in 2007 to repair a dislocated left shoulder, had been favoring his shoulder and looked slower against the Bulls. He did not practice Saturday or Sunday.
Wade had a spirited workout yesterday and declared himself ready for Game 1.
“Everybody practiced full contact, full pad, mouthpieces, etc.,’’ Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Everybody is ready to go. I actually had to cut it short again, after about however long — guys were hitting a little too hard and were a little bit too amped up.’’
Said Wade, “Not a lot of guys have been to the Finals, so we’re always looking forward to coming in and preparing and getting ready. Yes, I was mixing it up.’’
Gary Washburn can be reached at email@example.com.