Thursday, August 4, 2011
Von Wafer Goes To Italy
Von Wafer, who played for the Boston Celtics in 2010-11 but is currently an unrestricted free agent, is headed to Italy to play for Venoli Cremona.
Wafer received the opt-out clause, meaning he'll be able to return stateside as soon as the NBA lockout ends.
He was one of the last guys off the bench last season, averaging 3.2 points, 0.8 rebounds and 0.6 assists over 9.8 minutes per game. In total, he played in 58 games and actually seemed to be gaining more of a role late in the regular season before a calf injury affected his minutes in the playoffs.
From ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg
Last month, Wafer's agent, Terrance Doyle of the Veritas Venture Group, suggested his client would be interested in a return engagement with the Celtics.
"Von would love to be back [with Boston]," Doyle said of the 6-foot-5 swingman who has played for seven teams since being drafted by the Lakers in the second round (35th overall) of the 2005 draft. "He's never gotten that opportunity to go back with a team."
Wafer signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Celtics last August and fended off numerous charges at his roster spot and endured a locker room dust-up with teammate Delonte West to stick for the entire campaign. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge often voiced praise for Wafer and he would seemingly be a candidate to fill out the end of the Boston bench next season should the team need a depth swingman.
This will be Wafer's second voyage overseas. He chased an international payday following a breakout season with the Houston Rockets in 2009, but soon parted ways with Greek squad Olympiakos. After earning $915,852 on a minimum contract last season (and roughly $3 million in NBA contracts over six seasons), this overseas opportunity allows Wafer to earn some cash and keep sharp while waiting for the owners and players to work out a new collective bargaining agreement.
Venoli Cremona competes in Italy's Lega Serie A, the same highly regarded league that Celtics second-round draft pick E'Twaun Moore is set to join (Moore signed with Benetton Treviso last month).
Playing in Europe seems like a no-brainer for someone with Wafer's boarder line NBA skills. He'll get way more minutes than he ever will here in the NBA, travel across a foreign land and maybe earn a bigger pay day whenever the NBA decides to start things rolling again. Former NCAA players often star in Europe so you'd have to think that an NBA veteran would have a distinct advantage over his European opponents. I guess we shall see.