Free agent Cassell signs with Celtics

Free agent Cassell signs with Celtics

( dpa ) - The Boston Celtics added another piece to what they hope will be their NBA championship puzzle by signing free agent Sam Cassell, the team announced on Tuesday.

Cassell negotiated a buyout with the LA Clippers on the remainder of his contract last Thursday. Once he cleared waivers, it allowed the 15-year veteran point guard to sign with the Celtics, who own the league's best record at 46-12.

The Celtics expect the 38-year-old Cassell to provide them with depth, leadership and experience as a reserve in their thin backcourt. However, head coach Doc Rivers doesn't know how he'll fit in.

"I don't know yet, I'm not really thinking about it yet," Rivers told reporters. "Sam's a solid player, a terrific pick-and-roll player, he can make big shots at the end of games, and those are some of the things we hope he can do.

"He's a veteran who's been through the wars, other than that - that's a lot - other than that, I don't know. We're just adding another piece to our puzzle and trying to be the best team we can be at the end of the year."

Meanwhile, Cassell will have an opportunity to be a member of his third NBA Championship team after having won back-to-back titles with the Houston Rockets in 1994 and '95.

Cassell was averaging 12.8 points and 4.7 assists in 38 games this injury-marred season. For his career, the former All-Star owns averages of 15.9 points, 6.0 assists and 1.07 steals in 976 contests.

In 115 career playoff games, he has posted averages of 13.6 and 4.9 assists.

Last week, the Celtics strengthened their frontline, by signing 37-year-old free agent forward-centre PJ Brown out of retirement.

While the Celtics improved their roster for the playoff push, other teams made similar moves:

The Dallas Mavericks inked free agent back-up point guard Tyronn Lue from the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings acquired Lue from the Atlanta last month, but he never played for them. Lue averaged 6.8 points, 1.8 assists, 1.2 rebounds in 33 games for the Hawks.

The Phoenix Suns picked up sharp-shooting guard Gordan Giricek who was waived by the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

The 6-foot-6 Croatian, who will be joining his fifth team, has averaged 9.6 points in 362 NBA games.

The Detroit Pistons added frontcourt insurance by signing defensive minded, shot-blocking centre Theo Ratliff.

The 13-year veteran averaged 6.3 points and 3.9 rebounds for the Minnesota Timberwolves this season before reaching a contractual buyout agreement.

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