Celtics Waive Keyon Dooling

Keyon Dooling celebrating a huge basket in Game 4 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.

Hours after signing Darko Milicic to a one-year deal, the Celtics announced that they’ve waived guard Keyon Dooling.

The surprise move was at the request of the 12-year veteran, who has chosen to retire rather than suit up for another season.

“Keyon has decided that he has given the NBA 12 good years and that it’s time to pursue other interests and spend more time with his family,” said Dooling’s representative Kenge Stevenson. “He will never forget his time in Boston with the Celtics.”                                                                                                                                                                                                  “We’ll miss Keyon’s spirit and energy, both on and off the court,” said Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “The whole Celtics family wishes him well as he enters the next phase of his life.”

Before joining the Celtics, Dooling was originally drafted 10th overall in the 2000 draft by the Orlando Magic where he was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers on draft day. After playing with the Clippers, he signed with the Miami Heat in 2004, signed with the Magic in 2005, traded to the New Jersey Nets in 2008, and signed with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2010 before being traded to the Celtics last summer.

For his career, in 721 games, he averaged 7.0 PPG, 2.2 APG and shot 42% from the field and 35% from beyond the arc.

In his only season with the Celtics, he averaged 4.0 PPG, 1.1 APG, shot 41%, and 33% from 3-point land in 46 games.

While the season wasn’t a success, it was the playoffs where he came up big.

In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat, he came off the bench and played 16 minutes where he nailed three of four shots from 3-point range for 10 points and led the Celtics to a thrilling victory.

Analysis

Game 4 of the ECF at the Garden was probably one of the best games I’ve ever seen and the most thrilling game I have ever seen in person. The Garden went nuts every time he nailed a shot. Even though the Celtics lost the series,  I’ll never forget that game.

Looking back at his career as a whole, he never lived up to his billing as a lottery pick. However, he became a respected teammate who found his niche as a guy who could provide a lot of energy off the bench as was seen in the playoffs last year.

His energy and leadership was seen regularly as he led his teammates to “flex” their muscles as they cheered on the guys who were playing. In fact, I remember Brandon Bass refer to Dooling as “The Reverend,” meaning when he talks, people listen. The leadership he provided was so respected that he could get away with yelling at Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen when they got into funks and that was something that many players, including veterans, could not do.

I was really surprised by Dooling’s decision to “pursue other interests.” I assume “other interests” means spending more time with his family. He did sign a one-year deal earlier in the summer, but I guess he liked retirement better.

With saying that, he probably would’ve played sparingly or in limited minutes as he was the backup to newly signed sixth man Jason Terry. So other than his leadership qualities, which I highly respect, Dooling isn’t a huge loss. Aside from the playoffs last season, he just had a hard time finding his niche on the court and that’s why he was regularly seen cheering his teammates from the bench, which is how the “flexing” tradition started.

This also opens up a roster spot for either 2nd-round draft pick Kris Joseph, or for someone like Dionte Christmas or Jamar Smith to seize. Heck, Danny Ainge might pursue another veteran point guard if he feels he needs too. We all know he’s always looking to upgrade his roster.

With saying that, good luck Keyon. Thanks for that thrilling game and your contributions last year!!!

Photo by David Butler II, US Presswire and republished here. Some rights reserved.

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