Delonte West, With Off-Court Issues Behind Him, Could Contribute to Celtics Next Season

Delonte West, With Off-Court Issues Behind Him, Could Contribute to Celtics Next Season A year ago, Delonte West arrived in Boston dogged by countless questions about his character off the basketball court.

People were worried about his mental health, as West's struggle with bipolar disorder had threatened to derail his career. They worried about his criminal record, as he was facing multiple weapons charges after an incident back home in Maryland. They were even worried about his extracurricular involvement with teammates' mothers. Remember that whole mess?

 

Delonte came to Boston on a one-year contract, and as far as all that off-the-court stuff goes, the experiment worked out great. There was one minor incident early on about an altercation with a teammate, but other than that all was well. West was happy, he was stable, he was safe, and there definitely weren't any more mom-related incidents.

There's a chance this summer that Delonte, who made only $850,000 this season on a one-year contract, comes back and signs more long-term. Only one problem, though: the guy's character questions have been replaced by basketball questions.

Can West stay healthy? He missed 58 of the Celtics' 82 games in the regular season last year, fighting hard against wrist and ankle injuries.

Will he disappear in the playoffs again next year? West had the following numbers in four playoff games against the Knicks — eight points, eight rebounds and five assists. Total. Not per game.

West's off-the-court stuff has all been taken care of, and that being the case, he deserves a long-term deal in his near future. There's no doubt he can play.

"His problems have never been on the floor — they've always been off the floor," Doc Rivers said back on Media Day in September. "We're hoping that he's doing better."

"Great pickup," added Kendrick Perkins. "Danny [Ainge] asked me beforehand — he knew what was going to happen with Delonte's situation, and he asked me if he should give Delonte another try. And I said that you can't question his heart. You know his heart is there. You know he's going to compete every night and he's going to give us something."

It's true. Maybe a year ago, West was on top of the discard pile, a pariah in a league whose players have done much worse. But now he's back. If the Celtics are smart, they'll find a way to make him a part of their plans going forward.

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