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Pierce extension talks heat up

Although Paul Pierce feels no sense of urgency regarding a contract extension, the same apparently cannot be said about his Los Angeles-based agent, Jeff Schwartz, and Celtics' executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge. The two are negotiating a deal for the 28-year-old captain, meeting during the summer league in Las Vegas.

``I'm confident that we will get a deal done," said Ainge late last night, after the Celtics' 112-108 loss to Denver. ``Things are moving along, but it is not final. We do not have a final contract completed."

The proposed extension would be worth approximately $59 million over three years, meaning Pierce would be under contract with Boston for the next five seasons. He has one year guaranteed remaining on his contract plus a player option for 2007-08. If Pierce signs an extension, the option would go into effect.

When the proposed extension expires, Pierce will have finished his 13th NBA season.

Telfair struts stuff
The Celtics lost a nail-biter to the Nuggets despite 26 points from point guard Sebastian Telfair, who hit 10 of 13 free throws.

It was a hotly contested game featuring six technical fouls. Assistant coach Tony Brown was tossed late in the fourth quarter after a non-call on a Telfair drive.

``I thought it was an obvious call," Brown said. ``It's not about the officiating, but that play really signified the game."

Al Jefferson had his best game of the summer, with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Gerald Green had 24 points and shot 6 of 7 from 3-point land. Rookie Rajon Rondo had 11 points and 11 assists.

Young stars, big deals
Carmelo Anthony signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Nuggets that allows him to opt out after four years. The deal is longer by two years than those also agreed to yesterday by fellow young stars LeBron James of the Cavaliers and Dwyane Wade of the Heat. Rather than choose five-year extensions, James and Wade went for three-year deals in the $60 million range with an option for a fourth -- and the chance to become free agents sooner and potentially make even more money. Elsewhere, the deal sending Rudy Gay to Memphis was finally completed, New Orleans added Peja Stojakovic but lost Speedy Claxton, and the Clippers brought back Sam Cassell but watched Vladimir Radmanovic head to the Lakers. The Grizzlies acquired and then signed Gay, the eighth pick in the draft, along with Stromile Swift, sending forward Shane Battier to Houston. The trade means that five of the first eight players selected on draft night have been dealt. Dallas got Austin Croshere from Indiana for Marquis Daniels in a previously agreed-to trade. The Clippers gave a two-year deal to Cassell. The Hornets acquired Stojakovic and cash considerations from the Pacers in exchange for the draft rights to Andrew Betts in a move to boost their outside shooting.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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