Marc J. Spears has a semi-scoop in the Globe this morning, writing that old friend (seriously old) Gary Payton is angling to return to the Celtics. This isn't that surprising, since Payton's always had a bit of the Rickey Henderson in him, and the Celtics are both very good and frankly in need of depth. Of course, Payton's a bit of a wild card; he's an outsized personality who could either do wonders for team chemistry or destroy it, depending on how much he's willing to defer to Garnett and Pierce. In the offseason I was advocating bringing him in to help out with Rondo, but now at 20-3 I'm not so sure I want to mess with a good thing. However, I do think that Gary Payton could potentially be the best thing that's ever happened to Rondo (aside from KG, or course), and honestly if there's any former player that Rajon should be modeling his game after, GP seems like an obvious candidate. Also, for all of Payton's baggage and his thirty-nine years, there's no question that he's got a better understanding of the notion of "NBA point guard" than anyone else on this team. I mean, as it stands right now, we still don't have a backup point guard-- no matter how you slice it, House still looks infinitely more comfortable in a catch-and-shoot role-- and Gary Payton would certainly take care of that.
I don't know, I guess I'd give this move a cautious endorsement. The $1.2m kind of seems like a lot, but it is the veteran minimum and it'd just be a one-shot thing. The C's are already clearly going all-in on this season, and I see Payton's potential rewards outweighing his risks. He's also a great interview subject and a generally entertaining dude to have around.