By ROBERT LEE
JOURNAL SPORTS WRITER
BOSTON -- Ask and you shall receive.
Celtics president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, said Wednesday that with Eddie House now gone, Boston could use another shooter off the bench who could relieve Paul Pierce and/or Ray Allen.
It seems as if Ainge and Co. have found their man in 6-foot-7 sharpshooting guard/forward Michael Finley.
"It's official now," the two-time All-Star told ESPN.com on Thursday. "I'm soon to be a Celtic."
Ainge said on WEEI on Wednesday: "I think what Michael brings to the table is [his ability] to shoot. He's made a lot of big shots."
Finley, who will return 37 on Saturday, the same day he is expected to report to Boston, was requested and received a buyout from the San Antonio Spurs on Monday. He began the season in the Spurs starting lineup but suffered a badly sprained ankle early in the season and quickly fell on San Antonio's depth chart and out of the rotation, resulting in him requesting to be let go.
He has a career 15.9 points per game average and is a career 37.3 percent 3-point shooter, but Finley was only averaging 3.7 points a game for the Spurs this season.
Even so, Finley is regarded as one of the best locker room presences in the league, and he has 111 games of playoff experience. He won a championship in 2007 with the Spurs.
"He is very excited about playing with the guys on the team," Finley's agent Henry Thomas told the Boston Globe. "He still thinks he has the ability to contribute some things on the court and provide the things to the team that they need to get another ring."
Finley, who is expected to sign for the veteran minimum, will add depth and firepower to an already potent Boston second unit. He will give the Celtics some flexibility with Marquis Daniels, who can play both the guard and small forward positions, and some insurance in case Pierce or Daniels gets hurt again, though nobody expects him to play at the level he was playing during his prime.
When the Finley rumors first began earlier this week, Boston coach Doc Rivers told the Globe: "I don't think [adding] a veteran ever hurts. I think it always helps your team to have one, if it's the right one. Every team has some holes. Shooting is one thing we can't have enough of as far as I'm concerned. You look at some of these other teams, their shooting is ridiculous."
The Celtics did not practice on Thursday and were unavailable for comment.
After breaking the all-time scoring record at the University of Wisconsin, Finley was drafted 21st overall in 1995 by Phoenix. He made an immediate impact. He was selected to the NBA's All-Rookie First Team, finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting after averaging 15 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
He was then traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 26, 1996 and played the next 9.5 years of his career in Dallas. After being waived by the Mavericks in 2005 for financial reasons, he signed with the Spurs where he remained until Saturday.
Now Finley, who has racked up more than 17,000 points in his career, will join the Celtics, who will have one open roster spot after Finley signs his contract.