PHOENIX -- Walter McCarty pushed hard for the trade that
brought him to Phoenix, and he says he is ready to fill whatever
role the Suns require, even if he seldom leaves the bench.
"I'm a great team player," McCarty said after his first
practice with the Suns on Thursday. "If I have to be a
cheerleader and supporter, that's what I'll do. I'm here just to
add to what they've already done. I'm not going to complain about
The Suns acquired the 31-year-old McCarty and cash from the
Boston Celtics on Monday in exchange for a second-round draft pick.
Coach Mike D'Antoni sees the newcomer as a backup to Shawn
Marion, the small forward excelling at the big forward spot in the
speed game that has propelled Phoenix to a 39-11 record.
"We expect him to help us," D'Antoni said. "He's a guy that
can definitely space the floor. He can play the game like Shawn
Marion plays it. It gives us another guy to do what we're doing."
It remains to be seen how many minutes McCarty can expect.
"We'll kind of play it by ear," the coach said, "but if Shawn
needs a rest or if Shawn has the flu or if Shawn has something else
to do that day and doesn't show up for a game, he'll fit right in.
Minutes and rotation, we'll see how it goes."
The 6-foot-10 McCarty, in his ninth NBA season out of Kentucky,
averaged 3.7 points and 1.8 rebounds with the Celtics, and saw his
playing time diminish with the Celtics' youth movement. He pushed
for a trade and made no secret that Phoenix was his preferred
"I really believe in this team right here, and this coaching
staff, and this organization," McCarty said. "They've got a lot
of good players, guys who are good on and off the court. I wanted
to be in that type of environment, with a lot of mature players and
a chance to win."
McCarty, who has good shooting range and can run the floor, sees
his role as an energizer.
"I come in and just try to make something happen," he said.
He is the second experienced player added to the Suns' bench in
recent weeks. Jim Jackson, who refused to report to New Orleans
after he was traded by Houston, was traded by the Hornets to
Phoenix and has made an immediate impact.
D'Antoni said the Suns were fortunate to find two players who
wanted out of their situations, and Phoenix was in a position to
take advantage of that.
"The Jimmy Jackson thing doesn't come open very often,"
D'Antoni said. "We got lucky to be able to get him. And now even
the Walter McCarty thing doesn't come often. We had a trade
exception and he was unhappy in Boston, and that doesn't happen
every day. So we caught two good breaks."