Chris Wallace was on WWZN this afternoon, just as the Red Sox were starting. Asked if they can get Baker in shape, Wallace said that’s the challenge. Vinny desperately wanted to be home here, and was unhappy in Seattle, he’s got the low post game they really need, and they think it was worth the risk. As for the point guard position, Kenny was in the last year of his contract, and if Philadelphia makes the playoffs next year, they have two first round picks in a draft that could be rich in point guards. Shammond Williams will also help, they’ve been high on him for some time, he’ll be an option and they’ll also be looking to pick someone up who slips through like Erick Strickland did last year. He mentioned Damon Jones, Greg Anthony, Troy Hudson, Rod Strickland and Chris Childs as point guards that are available out there. Vin Baker got on the phone too, and is glad and ecstatic to be home. He’s definitively getting in shape, he says he’s about 4 lbs away and is in great shape already. Hasn’t talked to Antoine or Paul yet, but will be looking to phone them in the next few days. The Eastern Conference should be a positive for him. It’s one of the variables that’s going to help him. He’s wanted to play for the Celtics since he was 17. He’s been hearing about this for a week and half to two weeks, has had to hold it in and is now the happiest guy on the planet. He’s coming up Thursday to get going in earnest with the trainers and coaches. He does feel pressure to be the piece to make it to the finals, and it’s a positive pressure he and Shammond will feel. Vin compares Shammond to Eric Snow, thinks he’s ready to take over a PG position, great shooting, great ball handler. Thinks he’s more prepared than Snow was when Snow left Seattle. He already feels a family atmosphere here with O’Brien, Wallace and Leo. He’s gearing up to play the center position, looks forward to it and thinks he’ll be a good fit. He knows he needs to rebound and clog up the middle. They’re prepared to be the core of this team for the next four years. He’s very optimistic that they’re going to get to the finals. Asked about playing against Shaq, he’s a monster, dominant, but he and the Lakers can be beaten as shown by the Kings this year. Wallace came back on the line and he said “it’s over” with Rodney Rogers, mentioned Philadelphia as a possible landing spot. They can take on a couple more minimum salaries still. They weren’t upset with Forte, he had to be included to make the numbers work. As far as messing with the chemistry, they talked to a lot of people and did their homework about him, and thought it was worth it. Now with Baker, Walker and Battie, they have perhaps the premier PF-C combo in the East. Don’t have to take a backseat to anyone.
There were obvious ethical questions (consumer fraud, anyone?) about holding out ALL of his starters and regulars in the final exhibition.