Daniels May Be Loneliest Man in Finals
He might be the loneliest man at the NBA Finals.
Daniels came to Boston last summer as a free agent, believing it was the perfect fit, a veteran team that wanted him as part of their championship plans. They welcomed his experience and versatility, believing he could be a reliable backup at all three perimeter spots.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who like Daniels spends his offseasons in Central Florida, even recruited him.
Now Daniels is wondering where he'll be playing next season. It's likely to be somewhere else.
"I can't complain. I'm here at the Finals. But I have to go somewhere next season where I can get regular minutes and help a team win,'' he said. "I don't want people to forget me.''
Daniels, 29, hasn't played yet in the Finals, sitting out Game 1 with the lingering effects of a concussion, then sitting out Games 2 and 3 as a coach's decision.
He played only sporadically in nine of their 20 playoff games. Although he was part of the regular rotation when the season began, he fractured his left thumb in December and struggled to regain any consistency after missing 28 games following surgery.
Daniels signed a one-year, $2 million deal last summer, which will make him an unrestricted free agent again in July.
"It's been a rollercoaster season,'' he said. "After hurting my thumb it was a matter of getting back into a rhythm, trying to stay ready to help this team. Everyone in this league wants to play. You don't want to sit like this. I know I can still help a team win games.''
Daniels played in the NBA Finals with Dallas in 2006, arguably his best season in the NBA. In the 29 games he started, he averaged 13.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals. He played as a reserve in every playoff game that season.
The Celtics, though, have shortened their rotation, using only Tony Allen and now Nate Robinson as a perimeter reserve. Daniels sustained his concussion after just three minutes of playing time in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Orlando.
A variety of injuries have slowed him throughout his career that included three seasons in Dallas and another three in Indiana.
"People around the league still know I can play,'' he said. "I've dealt with this kind of thing before. I'm still trying to stay involved, stay ready, because you never know what can happen.''