By ROBERT LEE
Journal Sports Writer
BOSTON - There are very few teams in the NBA that can claim to have three players on their bench who can start for almost any other team.
The Celtics are one of them.
Boston's busy offseason led to the signing of Rasheed Wallace, a 6-foot-11, 230-pound, 4-time All-Star power forward/center; Marquis Daniels, a versatile 6-foot-6 swingman who can play anywhere from point guard to small forward and who started for Indiana last season, posting career-highs in points (13.6) and rebounds (4.6); and the re-signing of power forward Glen Davis, who averaged 12 points and 5.1 rebounds after the All-Star break, and averaged 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds as a starter in the playoffs last season.
The main reason why the Celtics did not return to the NBA Finals last season was because of the injuries to Kevin Garnett (knee) and Leon Powe (knee) and the thin bench behind the starters.
This year Ainge made sure that the Celtics are one of the deepest teams in the league.
"Marquis has been a starter in his career," Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge said at a press conference last Friday. "He started last year and when you look at the games he played against us, he played very well against us. Rasheed has been a starter in his career and Big Baby started last year after KG (Kevin Garnett) went down and played very well...
"We have three starters on that bench this year. They are guys who can step up and play those [starting] roles if we have injuries, and we will not miss a beat when they come off the bench. We have great depth and great experience off of our bench now."
With All-Stars Paul Pierce, who turns 32 in October, Garnett (33), Ray Allen (34), and Wallace, who turns 35 next week, not getting any younger, Ainge said that Celtics will do everything they can to try to win a title in the next two years.
"That's kind of our mindset right now," Ainge said. "I'm not sure what the window is exactly but we do feel like we have a team that has a great chance to win a championship over the next couple of years."