- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Celtics guard Von Wafer remained uncertain about his future after Boston's 107-92 triumph over the New Jersey Nets in Wednesday's preseason finale, but the fact that two others in the room had been apprised of theirs meant the fifth-year guard appeared to have won the competition for a final roster spot.
Camp invitees Stephane Lasme and Mario West were informed that they had been waived following Wednesday's game, unofficially trimming Boston's roster to the 15-man maximum. Rookie Tiny Gallon, who joined the team earlier this week, had not been informed of his official release and is likely to stick around a couple of more days before he will be waived with potential to be allocated to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League.
Wafer played the entire fourth quarter Wednesday, connecting on 3 of 6 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, for eight points. Lasme and West played only the final three minutes.
While Wafer repeatedly stressed that he wanted not only to make the team but also be a contributor, his competitors for the final spot are facing far more uncertain futures.
"I'm going to go home and relax," said Lasme, the University of Massachusetts product who proved to be Wafer's stiffest competition, making a strong case to occupy Boston's final roster spot with inspired defensive play throughout the preseason.
"I'm sure somebody is going to call. I'll wait for the phone call and make my decision from there."
Lasme knows the Celtics have a strong interest in shuffling him to the D-League, something he discussed with the team at the onset of camp. That would keep him in the system should the team decide later (say, after Delonte West returns from a 10-game suspension to start the regular season) that they could use his type of player over an offense-first guard like Wafer.
But Lasme sounded optimistic that another NBA team might come calling based on the impression he made in Boston.
"Doc said he liked me a lot, it came down to the end," said Lasme. "He said I'm an NBA player, that I should be in the league, and not to worry about anything."
Lasme, a native of Gabon, plans to stay in the United States for a full year to ensure his residency, so he will not seek a job overseas. In fact he left a Russian team to return stateside last month, then worked out for Boston, earning the invite to camp. He's currently living in Marlborough with his wife and 17-month-old daugther, which makes it even more likely he'd consider a D-League offer to stay local if no other NBA team shows interest.
Mario West, who spent three seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, earned praise in training camp for his workman mentality and gritty play, but his defense wasn't on par with Lasme's and his offense lagged far behind Wafer. He pushed his teammates in practice, but did little to distinguish himself on the court during Boston's eight-game preseason slate.
Wafer, who came on strong toward the end of the preseason, still must prove he's bought into the defensive-minded culture of the Celtics organization.
"Hopefully I showed them that I can get better, willingly, to play defense," said Wafer. "I got a lot better defensively so far, and hopefully I can continue to play. But like I said, making the team is not enough, man. I've been playing in the NBA for five years, sitting on the bench for four years. You can't get better sitting on the bench. I want to play."
Delonte West's suspension could free some time for Wafer, but Boston navigated much of the first three quarters without Wafer (or Delonte) during Wednesday's final tuneup. Wafer's veteran-minimum contract is only partially guaranteed, making him a low-cost cut if the team ultimately decides to go in a different direction.
Chris Forsberg is the Celtics reporter for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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