Celtics To Sign Oliver Lafayette, Tony Gaffney

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants' Oliver Lafayette will be called up to the Boston Celtics according to sources close to the situation.

Lafayette, a 6-foot-2 point guard out of Houston, averaged 17.1 points, 6.5 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals after being cut in the preseason by the Erie BayHawks.

Former Massachusetts forward Tony Gaffney is also expected to be picked up by Boston, as first reported by ABC 40 in Springfield.  After playing for the Lakers' Vegas Summer League team, Gaffney went to Israel to play for Altshuler Saham Galil Gilboa, though broke his foot just one game into the campaign.

While it's likely neither of these players will make an impact this season, the Celtics have also offered both of them non-guaranteed contracts for next year - giving the Boston front office all Summer to judge the possibilities of either making the 2010-2011 roster.

What can I tell you about either player?

Not much, really. 

Gaffney didn't make enough of an impact in Vegas to leave a lasting impression on me and his early season injury didn't allow him to put up any statistics overseas, either.  Draft Express' report on Gaffney's Portsmouth Invitational last year seems to be the defining Gaffney scouting report on the internet.

As far as Lafayette - well, he was released in the preseason by his D-League team, so this call-up comes as a bit of a shock to yours truly.

Lafayette scored 32 points while grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing six assists (turning the ball over just twice) in his season finale on his way to knocking the Maine Red Claws out of the playoffs in front of Celtics GM Danny Ainge, which probably didn't hurt.

I'll defer to Fort Wayne Mad Ants President Jeff Potter's blog post on why he should get called up for the rest of my report, as I didn't watch a lot of Fort Wayne late in the season - when Lafayette came on the strongest:

Oliver Lafayette is not a name that jumps out at people, but he has been unbelievable the past few weeks and is a real stat stuffer. Here are his numbers for the month of March: 22 ppg, 6.5 apg, and 5 rpg. 

During our last seven games, where we have won six of those games, Oliver has been at his best. During that stretch, he is averaging 24.15 ppg, 8.58 apg, and 5 rpg. And, impressively, he has been doing that against excellent competition in Keith Mcleod, Cedric Jackson, Jackie Manuel (one of the best defenders in the league) and Russell Robinson.

I think, most impressively, he is finishing games well. In other words, when the game is near the end, he is invariably making plays that get us the win, and I think that separates him from being just another guy scoring 20 in a losing effort.

Further, beyond his offensive prowess, he has done a great job defensively. He is clearly the best help defender that we have had in our three years -- he just has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time, and he should be lauded for that.

Not sure if he will get a call up, but I hope he starts to get into the conversation with how well he has played recently.

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