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Up in smoke

Telfair's career may be over after weapons charges

Posted: Saturday April 21, 2007 1:50PM; Updated: Sunday April 22, 2007 1:03PM
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Sebastian Telfair joined the Celtics in June after a trade with the Trail Blazers.
Sebastian Telfair joined the Celtics in June after a trade with the Trail Blazers.
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It appears likely that Sebastian Telfair has played his last game for the Boston Celtics. He may have even played his last game in the NBA.

Telfair's arrest Thursday night on yet another weapons charge was the straw that broke the camels back. Boston has been sour on Telfair, well, pretty much since acquiring him in a trade from Portland in June. A preseason incident at a Manhattan restaurant, where Telfair was alleged to have been involved in a shooting, put considerable strain on Boston's front office. To be fair, Telfair was never charged with any crime but when you add it to his laundry list of other off the court incidents, you can see a pattern developing.

Boston has no interest in sponsoring Telfair any longer. Celtics principle owner Wyc Grousbeck -- whose comments on Telfair's arrest were remarkably strong-worded for a written statement -- and general manager Danny Ainge have been crystal clear about the image they want the Celtics to project and have no interest in guiding Telfair through another crisis.

Though the embattled point guard is scheduled to make $2.53 million in the final year of his contract, he will likely earn that money somewhere else. Boston may also pursue terminating Telfair's contract, but even with his history that option seems unlikely. The commisioner's office may have something to say about Telfair's immediate future as well. According to NBA spokesman Tim Frank, "the league is monitoring the situation."

Will another team sign him? Maybe. History has shown teams are willing to take chances on troubled players (see: Wells, Bonzi and Griffin, Eddie) provided they have talent. But that's the operative word: talent. Telfair averaged 6.1 points and 2.8 assists in 78 games with the Celtics last season. He lost his starting spot in the first half to rookie Rajon Rondo and never lived up to his billing. He made excuses, citing the high expectations placed on him coming out of Abraham Lincoln High School in 2004. He talked about the documentary that was made about his life and the massive shoe deal he signed after Portland made him the 13th selection in the '04 draft. But he accepted accolades for the film and he took Adidas' millions without complaint. You can't do that and then complain about it later.

If I'm a general manager, I would be cautious about acquiring a player like Telfair. At best he warrants a short-term, minimum salary contract. He will have to start from square one and prove to a team he is an asset. For his sake, I hope he can.