WALTHAM, Mass. — Players tend to be in pretty good moods when they meet with the local media to announce new contract agreements. In most cases, they know they just locked up enough money to make any responsible human being set for life, which would make almost anybody happy.
So it was not surprising to see Jason Terry grin from ear to ear or to hear him announce Saturday that he was amenable to any role with the Celtics, who announced that an agreement had been reached with the 13-year veteran.
"If they need me to wash the uniforms or sweep the floors, whatever role Doc [Rivers] wants me to play, I'm here to do it at 100 percent and I'll give it my all," Terry said. "That's what I've done my whole career. Whatever it takes to win, whatever puts us in the best position to win these games and win a championship is what I'll be doing."
Terry's attitude stood in contrast to that of Ray Allen, who was dissatisfied with a reserve role at the end of last season and chose to sign with the Miami Heat this offseason. Where Allen chafed at being the sixth man for the organization that invented the concept, Terry has a Sixth Man Award sitting on his shelf.
Before anyone rushes to condemn Allen, they should consider the context. Allen is one of the top 20 players of his generation, a probable Hall of Famer and a 10-time All-Star. He was established as the starting shooting guard for the Celtics for the last five seasons, and losing his starting job to a 21-year-old upstart in Avery Bradley was understandably difficult to take. Terry, though a knockdown shooter and a former top 10 draft pick, has never made an All-Star team and at age 34 is unlikely to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. History will remember Allen as a far better player than Terry, and Allen's stature in the league is higher than Terry's is even now.
Still, Allen would not have been as happy coming off the bench for the Celtics as he apparently will be for the Heat. Terry will, and that counts for a lot. Terry, who was a crucial piece of the Dallas Mavericks' 2011 title team, said Saturday that he was still smiling for the phone call he received from Rivers, who was the first person to call him when the free agency period began. That sort of gesture still resonated with a newcomer like Terry in a way that pleas by Rivers and Kevin Garnett did not with Allen. For Terry there was no workplace drama to cloud out the Celtics mystique.
"I think my competitive nature, that championship fire to win again, is what is driving me," Terry said. "I knew I was going to be a free agent this summer, and watching the playoffs and seeing that [the Celtics] were one game away, automatically in my mind I envisioned myself in a Celtic uniform. God willing, it happened, or it will happen soon."
Terry and the Celtics have not yet worked out the details of a deal, which could involve signing him straight-up or executing a sign-and-trade with the Mavericks. The fact that both sides felt comfortable with introducing Terry, even though nothing was official, spoke to how strongly Terry wants to be in Boston, and what he is willing to do once he is here.
Thumbnail via Facebook/Jason Terry