Big man Robert Swift, who played for the on-hiatus Apache in 2010-11 could wind up with the Boston Celtics after the lockout or the New York Knicks, according to former Tokyo Apache coach Bob Hill.
The 7’1 Swift never averaged more than 6.4 points or 5.6 rebounds in the NBA. He has played 34 NBA games since 2007 and has not played in the League since 2009. He has a long history of injuries, failed to dominate in the Tokyo league last season, and looks more like an over-sized, excessively-tattooed Boondock Saints loyalist than a professional basketball player who hails from half-Japanese descent. In 2009 Swift played two games for the NBA Development League’s Bakersfield Jam, citing personal reasons. At the time, his coach left us with the defining quote of Swift’s basketball career: “I didn’t get the feeling he wanted to play basketball anymore.”
Still, the Celtics are linked to Swift in rumors every offseason. The relationship dates back to 2004, when Danny Ainge fell in love with the red-headed high-schooler from Bakersfield, California. Had Swift fallen to the Celtics’ pick, Boston very well could have picked him. Thankfully, the Supersonics (God bless their soul) drafted Swift before Ainge had a chance, and the Celtics drafted Al Jefferson instead. Failing to draft Swift was the first stroke of luck that ultimately led to Boston’s 2008 title. The Celtics parlayed three years of Jefferson’s low-post mastery into Kevin Garnett, a trade that re-instilled Celtics Pride and restored the franchise’s glory days. But even years after NOT drafting Robert Swift turned out perfectly for Boston, Ainge has rumored interest in the center every season.
Considering that the Celtics have exactly one center under contract right now (and he’s more fragile than a glass house), extending a training camp invite to Swift makes sense. But even if Ainge’s man-crush from 2004 still exists, I doubt he would expect much from Swift. Swift’s 7’1 frame, we know now, operates better as an art canvas than it does as an NBA center.