When I first got back into collecting cards around the beginning of this decade, I was a little put off by wax boxes, especially basketball wax boxes. Suddenly, rookie cards were short printed and serial numbered. Sure, it temporarily added a little more value to the cards, but it also meant that you now only got a handful of rookies in a box instead of most or all of them. There’s nothing worse than opening a box of hoops, getting only 4 rookies and having them all be late second round picks.
Through most of 2004 and 2005, I bought lots and lots of singles and mostly basketball cards. I put together nice collections of Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes and Delonte West rookies. A few years later, none of those players remained on the Celtics roster. Big Al and Gomes went to the Timberwolves in the deal that brought The Big Ticket to Boston while Delonte left town with Wally Szczerbiak in the deal that brought Ray Allen and Big Baby to the Garden.
As a brief aside, while most of the press was about the Garnett trade we had to give up a huge talent in Jefferson and a big role player in Gomes to acquire KG. We gave up next to nothing in return for both Ray Allen and Big Baby. West was the most valuable piece of that trade, but he was expendable because of what Rajon Rondo had shown the team and was given the keys to drive Boston’s new Big Three. This trade, especially since it provided a player that may be a part of Boston’s future after the Big Three Part Two, might be remembered years from now as the better of the two.
Tonight, after serving out a ten game suspension to start the season, Delonte West played his first game back in a Boston uniform. He’s now the back-up point guard behind Rondo, but with his addition to the Celtics second unit, they’re got a bench squad that could beat some of the starting fives in the league. If Kendrick Perkins, Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’neal are ever all healthy at the same time and you’ve got the O’Neal twins playing as part of the second unit, this team is going to be scary. Favorites to win it all scary.
So, in Delonte’s first game back in Boston he played 21 minutes and scored 12 points with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 3 turnovers. Some of that was in garbage time at the end of the game, but it was definitely a successful return to Boston for Delonte. Hopefully he finds happiness here in Boston and can the problems that plagued him in Cleveland behind him.
As far as cards go, it’s nice to take some of the cards in the “Former Celtic” section of my collection and move them back into the “Current Celtic” section of my binder. Hopefully I will be doing the same with Big Al’s cards when KG is ready to call it a career.