Ex-Celtic looking to fit in with Phoenix

Updated: February 10, 2005, 6:41 PM ET
Associated Press

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.

Walter McCarty
Phoenix Suns
44 3.7 1.8 0.6 .413 .533

"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 minutes."

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 destination.

"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."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press