Bruce Bowen to the Celtics Makes Sense — At Some Point


August 26, 2009

Bruce Bowen to the Celtics Makes Sense -- At Some Point As far as melodramatic "will he or won't he?" retirement story lines go, Brett Favre's isn't the only one floating around this summer.

But to the credit of longtime Spurs forward Bruce Bowen, a free agent this summer at age 38, he's gone about his mulling quietly. Bowen was traded this offseason, sent to Milwaukee as part of the three-team trade that gave the Spurs Richard Jefferson, and he's now in a state of limbo as he considers his NBA future.

The Jefferson-Bowen trade went down on June 24. In the five weeks that followed, the Bucks front office tried to move him cheaply, but to no avail. Bowen is a bad fit there, with his ripe old age and weakening knees. He belongs on a contending team that can use a strong defender as a role player off the bench. He deserves quality minutes, but as few of them as possible.

The obvious destination, of course, would be Boston.

Milwaukee had the option to keep Bowen locked in. Bowen's contract gave the Bucks the chance to extend him for another year — they had until Aug. 1 to either extend him and pay him $4 million, or waive him and give him $2 million to walk away. The Bucks slept on Bowen, the deadline passed, and he walked away. Now he's $2 million richer.

But money probably isn't the main concern. Bowen's made over $25 million of it in his career, and if he decides to come back, it will likely be because he's still got game and wants to prove himself at the highest level.

It would be a shock if Bowen went anywhere but Boston. He's already got three rings, and he's grown accustomed to playing on championship-level teams. But the Spurs, who have upgraded to a high-scoring star small forward in Jefferson, don't want him back. The Cavaliers, who recently poached Leon Powe from Boston, are running out of money to spend. They don't want him.

The pool of possible suitors for Bowen is getting shallower by the day, but Boston's still there. Seeing the eight-time NBA All-Defensive teamer suit up in green would make sense.

The Celtics, who might end up using Marquis Daniels as Rajon Rondo's backup due to their lack of point guard depth, could now use one small forward. Thanks to Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the C's are a defense-oriented team, and Bowen fits that mold.

But rumor has it that rather than making a comeback with the Celtics, Bowen is considering retirement. It's been reported that the Celtics "were said to be aggressive in their pursuit of Bowen but were turned away," implying that Bowen might just walk away from the game.

Bowen has no other suitors at the moment, so his decision appears fairly simple. Either he comes back and contributes to the Celtics bench, or he retires.

The dark-horse third option is what HoopsWorld's Steve Kyler refers to as "pulling a P.J. Brown" — in other words, sitting out until January and waiting until he can feel out the NBA's playoff picture.

For the Celtics, that third option would be fine. The C's have enough manpower to coast from here to January — the wing positions will be under control. The real task for Bowen would be stepping up in the playoffs — Doc Rivers needs a body he can stick on LeBron James, Vince Carter or Ben Gordon in May, and that's where Bowen would come in. Until then, both parties can remain patient.

Bowen in Boston would be a good fit. A deal would make sense, but neither side should be desperate to pull the trigger right away. If a deal is meant to happen, it'll happen in due time.

In the meantime, just be happy Brett Favre's back. That's one fewer retirement drama to worry about.

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