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DAN SHAUGHNESSY

What ever happened to young ideas?

There was green everywhere you looked.

The lower bowl of TD Banknorth Garden was bathed in green last night -- draft party green with green and white balloons.

Celtics special guests who pay a lot of green ($900 per game) to watch bad basketball were green with envy as they ate jumbo shrimp and watched Greg Oden and Kevin Durant go to Portland and Seattle, respectively.

And then the Celtics drafted 6-foot-9-inch forward Jeff Green of Georgetown with the fifth pick. But when Green was seen above on the big board, sitting in the green room in New York with Stuart Scott, he was talking about playing for another green, the green of the Seattle SuperSonics. ESPN already had report ed that the Celtics traded their pick along with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak for Ray Allen and the No. 35 pick.

So, there it was. After losing to win in February, March, and April . . . after drawing the shortest of straws May 22 in Secaucus, N.J. . . . after lying for weeks about going young and using the No. 5 for a flossy young colt . . . the Celtics caved to Paul Pierce and the howling masses.

At the end of the night, Danny Ainge's lyin' eyes were neither blue nor green. And there was no vision.

"We couldn't be more thrilled," insisted Ainge. "This is a fantastic addition to our team. This gives us a chance to compete in the Eastern Conference.

"This team, they have no excuses."

Of course, there is the distinct possibility that the Celtics are not yet done. Makes sense. Maybe they still can get Kevin Garnett and storm the Eastern Conference with fossils Pierce, Allen, and Garnett. Maybe we'd all be OK with that. But it flies in the face of "the plan" they've pitched. And it strikes one as a major gamble.

Because if they don't get Garnett, if this really is it . . . the Celtics look ridiculous.

"We're always looking to make deals," said Ainge. "But I can't comment on Garnett . . . I'm not commenting on trade rumors."

A couple of hours before the Celtics traded their pick, owner Wyc Grousbeck stood on the floor of the Garden and said, "Fans have connected with this team despite 24 wins. People want these kids to succeed. The reason Danny's phone has been ringing is not for our veterans, but for our kids."

What about losing patience? What about results?

"The only results that count are championship banners and rings," said Grousbeck. "If it takes extra time, we'll try to support that. Getting a lot better may take some time."

Two hours later, the Celtics dumped the No. 5 pick and 23-year-old West and brought 31-year-old Allen on board. They said no thanks to the likes of Yi Jianlian, Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah, and Brandan Wright. No need for Green or Sean Williams.

"Everybody falls in love with the draft," Ainge said, insisting that this is not a change in philosophy. "I'm not sure if any of these players in the draft are going to be as good as Ray Allen."

Hmm. That one could come back to haunt him. (The best moment of Ainge's midnight confession came when he told us that second-rounder Glen "Big Baby" Davis has a "big upside." What about his backside?)

We also have to wonder how much of this was done to accommodate Pierce, who keeps reminding us that he is a great player surrounded by players who are not so great. Pierce's agent told one writer this week that Pierce wanted a "co-star" or he would ask to be traded. And now he has his co-star. The whole thing is mildly reminiscent of the country club Red Sox of the early 1960s, when star players dictated policy by running upstairs to Tom Yawkey.

"We've been trying to do that [accommodate Pierce]," Ainge acknowledged. "Not because Paul made any demands, but this is something we've been talking about doing."

Tommy Heinsohn and Bob Cousy were seated in the lower bowl when the Celtics traded the future for the short-term fix.

"You know what happens when you are making a souffle and you mix all the ingredients and put it in the oven?" started Heinsohn. "If you take it out of the oven too soon, it flops. And that may be what we are doing."

Cooz was similarly underwhelmed.

"I didn't want them to make any trades," mused the first great Celtic. "I don't have that kind of confidence in aging free agents, especially guys like Garnett or Allen who haven't won anything. Arnold [Red Auerbach to you] did that effectively when he brought in players like Willie Naulls, Carl Braun, Dave Bing, and Pete Maravich. They'd come here and play 12 minutes a game and grab a ring. But you've got to get lucky to have a Garnett come in and break his tail at 31 or 32 years old. I would rather have seen them continue with the youth movement and take the kid from China."

Allen has been an All-Star seven times. He has been a good citizen and we like guys who played (at UConn) for Braintree's Jim Calhoun. But I'm with Cooz on this one. Bringing Allen to the Celtics at this juncture -- eschewing the likes of Yi and friends -- makes the Celtics more interesting in the short run. And if Garnett joins Pierce and Allen, the 2007-08 Celtics could win the East and bring some glam back to Causeway Street.

But this feels more like bringing in Dominique Wilkins to go 35-47 in 1994-95.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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