BOSTON -- When the Boston Celtics signed Tony Gaffney and Oliver Lafayette on the final day of the regular season last April, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge noted that the moves were made with eyes toward the 2010-11 season.
The Celtics already boasted two open roster spots on the 15-man roster and were stockpiling NBA-caliber talent knowing that the team would need to fill as many as 11 spots this offseason. While both Gaffney and Lafayette earned non-guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season, the signings gave Boston first crack at keeping them in town and their low-cost price tags made it all the more likely they'd stick.
Then Ainge went out and made free agency his playground this summer. The Celtics re-signed Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to team-friendly deals; utilized their limited rights to retain Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels; inked Jermaine O'Neal with the mid-level exception; and, with only the veteran minimum remaining, still managed to haul in Von Wafer, Delonte West, and Shaquille O'Neal.
Sprinkle in a trio of rookies -- Avery Bradley, Luke Harangody, and Semih Erden -- and suddenly Gaffney and Lafayette find themselves on the outside looking in as training camp approaches later this month.
Ainge made sure to reach out to both Gaffney and Lafayette to stress that they would still have a chance to compete for a roster spot and that the team planned to keep the 15 best bodies coming out of camp.
"That's all I needed to hear," said Gaffney. "As long as there's a spot for me to earn, I'm going to do everything in my power [to earn it], or die trying."
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