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Trade finally hit home for Green

He realized when number was up

CANTON - It didn't hit Gerald Green that his Celtics days were over until Kevin Garnett held up his old No. 5.

On July 31, Green was among five Celtics dealt to Minnesota for Garnett. And when the Celtics introduced Garnett days later, Green watched on television as the 10-time All-Star held up jersey No. 5.

"After I saw KG hold up my old jersey, it sunk in," said the 21-year-old Green. "That's when I knew I was gone, I was out of here. But it's a business.

"I feel honored to be traded for a guy like Kevin Garnett. And then he's wearing my jersey? So, I'm honored."

Green, Denver's Allen Iverson, Golden State's Baron Davis, Atlanta's Marvin Williams, and the Clippers' Shaun Livingston attended the inaugural Reebok Basketball Family Reunion yesterday.

Green said he has stayed in touch with ex-teammates Paul Pierce, Kendrick Perkins, and Tony Allen. Although Green hasn't visited with any Celtic players or officials during his trip to the area, he has no animosity toward his old club. The 18th overall pick of the 2005 draft averaged 10.4 points for Boston last season.

"[The Celtics] were the first team that gave me a shot after I dropped in the draft," Green said. "I thank them for everything. But now it's time to go to a new team."

Green will play against the Celtics for the first time Oct. 10 in London in an exhibition game. Although it will only be preseason, the 6-foot-8-inch, 206-pounder expects regular-season intensity.

"It's going to be a little weird, but a little fun, though," Green said. "It's going to almost be like a family reunion.

Green said he and the players traded with him to the Timberwolves are helping each other adjust to Minneapolis. While Garnett was a legend in Minnesota, Green said Timberwolves fans have embraced the ex-Celtics.

"[Garnett] was a big part of their franchise," Green said. "A lot of fans were sad to see him go . . . But one thing I've been seeing that is great about the fans in Minnesota is they're not mad. They have welcomed us with open arms."

Thanks, but no thanks

The agent for Hawks free agent forward-center Esteban Batista said late last night that his client had declined an offer to sign with the Celtics.

Agent Marc Cornstein had indicated yesterday afternoon that the Celtics, Charlotte, Phoenix, and Indiana had made offers to the 6-10, 270-pounder. Cornstein wouldn't say why his client had turned down the Celtics, or which team Batista was leaning toward.

"Boston could be a good fit, but there are teams expressing more serious interest," Cornstein said.

The Uruguayan played sparingly for Atlanta last season, but averaged 20.8 points and a tournament-best 12.4 rebounds during the recent FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas.

Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge couldn't be reached for comment, but the interest in Batista gives the impression they are eager to bring another big man to camp.

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