Delonte West is A) A key contributor off the bench for this year's B) A human psyche-out for or C) A textbook example of the dreaded character risk. Maybe he's all three?
After Wafer had showered and sat down at his locker, West approached from behind and threw a punch. Wafer didn't see the punch coming but quickly got off of the ground and connected on two punches of his own. He then wrestled West to the ground before being separated by the team's veterans.
Again, none of this has been confirmed at this point. And realize this much: if this incident does spell the end of Delonte in Boston, it would be A) A serious blow to Boston's depth and title-chances, B) Short-sighted and C) Another tough break for a guy that's battled his fair share of demons so far.
And is Delonte being set up?
At Celtics Town, one writer raises some interesting points about the report here:
HoopsWorld’s Alex Kennedy tweeted that West has been in multiple skirmishes with teammates already this season. He also tweeted, "One player said that ‘it’s obvious when [West] hasn’t taken his medicine.’"
Damn. Well that meaningless scuffle suddenly escalated into rumors of a more serious problem, huh? Looking even further into things (and I hate to speculate about who Kennedy’s unnamed sourced might be, but I’m going to anyway), Kennedy has a working relationship with Wafer or someone in Wafer’s close circle. If I’m not mistaken, Kennedy was the first to report the Celtics’ interest in Wafer and also the first to report his signing. Maybe I’m reaching, but wouldn’t it make sense that Wafer is the source, that he’s the one who said, "It’s obvious when [West hasn’t taken his medicine"? Wafer has some type of relationship with Kennedy, and he was the one who had feuded with West earlier in the day and then continued the feud with Chris Forsberg.
If you want to play media detective, there's ample fodder for conspiracy theory. And so far, we've yet to hear another rendition of the events. So... It's early.
If West really sucker punched a teammate, or if that teammate really didn't deserve it, then maybe Boston is right to consider releasing him. But as everyone descends on this story like vultures looking for a cheap joke at Delonte's expense, it's worth remembering three things.
A) Consider the source.
B) What if Von Wafer's the problem?
and most importantly...
C) Delonte West has a troubled history, yes, but he also gives the Celtics one of the stronger second units in the entire NBA. And just this week, Shaquille O'Neal said of West, "I know he won't get out line." So clearly, West has his own advocates in the locker room.
Call him a "character risk" if you want, but even if things happened exactly as reported, should Boston really release him for a locker room skirmish? For lack of a better word... It's a risk.