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Pierce with a C

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 08:22 PM

Paul Pierce is the original All-Star on this Celtics team. He’s also its captain. And after a frustrating few seasons, he looked thrilled to be playing beside Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.

“I feel like I’m a rookie again,” said Pierce. “I just think this is a tremendous day.”

Pierce revealed that he lacked motivation last season. During the team’s 18-game losing streak, Pierce said he met with Celtics ownership and voiced his concerns about the direction of the franchise. They assured him he would get help.

“I asked for veterans,” said Pierce. “I didn’t expect to get a seven-time All-Star or a 12-time All-Star. This is a dream come true for me.”

Pierce played with Garnett in a high school tournament 13 years ago, but he has not played with a player of his caliber since. Pierce said ownership now has done everything it can to bring a team to this city that Boston can get excited about. He said they’ve brought the right players in around him to win a title.

Around him. Pierce spoke like he clearly thought of himself as the center of the team. He praised Garnett and Allen for being unselfish, and then went ahead and called himself unselfish. Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, and owner Wyc Grousbeck went out of their way today to stress how much they wanted to keep Pierce during this whole process.

Paul Pierce is the captain of this team, and it doesn’t look like that’s about to change.

C's odds improving

Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 08:02 PM

The Kevin Garnett deal is already making a big impact in Las Vegas.

A check of the sports betting web site Sportsbook.com reveals the Celtics at 5-1 odds at winning the NBA championship. Just three teams have better odds.

The C’s are listed as 5-2 odds to win the Eastern Conference, the best odds of any team in the East.

That swagger

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 08:00 PM

Kevin Garnett was hesitant. He’s new here.

“The Eastern Conference has gotten better," Garnett said when asked if he thought the Celtics were the favorite. "I wouldn’t go that far and say we’re the team to beat. We have things to prove. We have to work on chemistry.”

Paul Pierce and Ray Allen jumped right in.

“I know when other teams look at that schedule and we’re coming to town, they’re probably going to get their rest the night before,” said Pierce.

Allen echoed his sentiments.

“Kevin is passionate, and Paul’s passionate,” said Allen. “But they’re also stubborn. They’re also ornery. When they’re out there, they want the best.

"I’ll say this too. When I’m on the perimeter and I got these behind me, you know my confidence level goes up sky high, you know my swagger is through the roof, and I guarantee they both feel the same way offensively and defensively. When the other team sees us coming on the other end they’re definitely going to be afraid, because you gotta pick your poison."

Photos

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 07:48 PM

Check out photos from the press conference here.

Quotable

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 07:42 PM

The quote of the night came from Ray Allen:

"This is a proud franchise," Allen said. "I remember going back to the days when this organization battled against the Lakers. Every time they came in here they were afraid to walk into the Garden. I think those are the days we're going back to here. For them to walk in this building and have something to be afraid of."

Sox appeal

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 07:41 PM

It was revealed by Danny Ainge during the press conference that Kevin Garnett has a collection of Red Sox hats. He's excited to "break it out".

Emotional KG

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 07:30 PM

All eyes were on him, but Kevin Garnett didn’t care.

The newly acquired big man kissed his No. 5 Celtics jersey as he, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen were posing for photographs. He was slightly teary. His emotion was genuine.

“This is probably been the hardest 72 hours I’ve dealt with since I’ve been in the NBA,” said Garnett. “Initially I had no interest in leaving Minnesota. After [Timberwolves owner] Glen Taylor shared his views about the future, they contradicted mine.

“On draft night when Boston traded for Ray Allen, the whole situation changed for me. I didn’t say anything to anyone. But I contemplated. I really tried to be comfortable in seeing myself in a Celtic jersey.

“I thought this was probably my best opportunity of winning a ring.”

Garnett wore his emotions on his sleeve during the press conference. He looked visibly upset when talking about leaving Minnesota, and given his reputation for loyalty, it was hard to question him. He nodded feverishly when Danny Ainge shot down any comparisons to The Big 3.

"I’m a very passionate player, but the one thing that hurts more than anything is losing," Garnett said. "Knowing that going into a game and knowing that you have a slight chance of winning is difficult. It feels good to have two big guns on the side of me. It feels real good."

Garnett said he was frustrated with Minnesota's youth movement.

"I can’t do young. You need veterans in this league to win."

He also dispelled any notion of not wanting to come to Boston. While admitting he had interest in Phoenix and Los Angeles, he said he was leery of Kobe's contract situation and just didn't feel the same passion in those two cities.

"All of those places are beautiful to live," said Garnett. "When you think on basketball, on sports here, on the fans, it was a no-brainer. There was no way I was going to duplicate that."

He said he talked to Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and former Celtic Gary Payton about the city of Boston.

"I reached out to Paul’s four phones and left a message on all four," Garnett joked. "Luckily Ray had two phones and immediately called me back."

"I didn't recognize the area code," Pierce joked about not calling Garnett back.

Danny speaks

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 07:23 PM

Danny Ainge dispensed with the pleasantries and then said what was on everyone’s mind.

“This is gonna be a lot of fun this year,” said the Celtics’ director of basketball operations/GM.

Ainge was long-winded, but he touched on several topics:

--On the patience of Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers:

“They’ve stood in front of you guys for the last two years and taken some heat, taken some bullets. They’ve had pretty high expectations that were probably unrealistic and unfair… Paul’s endured a lot the last few years. I’m glad he’s here with us today.”

--On trading away five players:

"Minnesota got a good deal in this trade. Where they are as a franchise, it’s really hard for us, who invested a lot in time in the development of Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, and Gerald Green. We’ve invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears with them. I’m glad Al Jefferson is in the Western Conference. Ryan Gomes may be one of the best people I’ve been around in 25 years of sports. And we all know Gerald’s upside."


--On the difference between the Celtics and Timberwolves:

"Minnesota is in one phase of their franchise where we have been, in developing young players. And we’re in another phase right now. We are in a cycle where we feel like in the next couple of years we have a chance to be a very special team."


--On what’s next:

"We have roster spots to fill. We think we can continue to improve our roster. We don’t think that these three guys alone can win a championship. We really believe that a 14 man roster/13 man roster is crucial, and how we fill those roster spots is important to us to get supporting players that can get them over the top, and we will continue to do that. You know, on paper this team looks good. These guys have a lot to do. These guys have to get the chemistry right. They have to make the sacrifices to win."

--On comparisons to The Big 3:

"The Big Three is the Big Three until we win. And these guys will never be the Big Three until they win. And I think they know that."

--On Garnett's reported reluctance to come to Boston:

"All the reports out there were false from every conversation I’ve had with KG."

Opening remarks

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 07:14 PM

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Sorry for the delay. We're wirelessly challenged here at the Garden.

The assembled season-ticket holders cheered when Kevin Garnett walked in, then sustained their grins as Garnett disappeared behind a curtain before the press conference.

The presser kicked off about 20 minutes late because Garnett was late arriving following a physical. Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce entered the room in that order.

The three players held up jerseys and posed for pictures to get things started. It took a little while for them to coordinate, but the shot of the three All-Stars holding up Celtics jerseys provided quite a visual. The assembled season-ticket holders (and various Celtics staffers) cheered when the trio was introduced.

Copious quotes on the way.

KG in the house

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 06:30 PM

Boston.com's Gary Dzen said Kevin Garnett has arrived at the Garden and the press conference to introduce the 10-time All-Star to the media is expected to begin shortly.

Live from...

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 06:02 PM

Welcome to the Garden, where the press conference introducing Kevin Garnett is about to get underway.

Garnett is delayed in his arrival at the Garden. The newly acquired Celtics forward is still at the hospital completing his physical.

Paul Pierce arrived to Legends, on the Garden’s third floor, at about 5:50 p.m. Pierce wore a smile and said, “Let’s get the party started,” before being ushered into a room where he, Ray Allen, Danny Ainge, and Doc Rivers are waiting until the press conference begins.

Being at legends, this event is open to a few familiar season-ticket holders. We’re talking front row.

The refreshments are limited. A couple of bowls of pretzels and bottled water are all that’s being offered. That Garnett contract extension must be a doozey.

There's about 100 people in attendance here and about 20 news cameras. We’re wirelessly challenged, so we’ll check in with updates as often as we can.

Big Ticket

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 05:45 PM

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The press conference to officially announce the acquisition of Kevin Garnett is coming up shortly and we'll be there live with updates. Paul Pierce and the Celtics' other new All-Star, Ray Allen, pictured above arriving at the Garden earlier this afteroon, are expected to be in attendance.

Get your KG

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 04:36 PM

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Kevin Garnett No. 5 jerseys are already for sale on Celtics.com. No word on whether Doc or Danny will wear one to the press conference...

We'll be there

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 03:34 PM

The Celtics will introduce Kevin Garnett at a press conference today at 6 p.m. We'll be there live, so be sure to tune in.

Celtics acquire Garnett

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 03:26 PM

The Celtics just sent the following press release:

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics announced today that they have acquired 10-time All-Star and 2004 MVP Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, a 2009 first round draft pick (top three protected) and a return of Minnesota’s conditional first round draft pick previously obtained in the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak trade. Minnesota also receives cash considerations in the deal.

“Kevin Garnett is a great player in our league, with a fierce and competitive spirit, who brings offensive scoring prowess and a defensive presence to our team,” Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge said. “The players we’re trading to Minnesota have bright futures in the NBA and we wish them well.”

The 12-year pro is one of just five players in NBA history to amass at least 19,000 points, 10,000 rebounds and 4,000 assists joining Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Charles Barkley. The 6’11” 253lb forward led the NBA in rebounding for the fourth consecutive season this past year and is just the fourth player in NBA history to do so. He joins Chamberlain, Moses Malone and Dennis Rodman as the only players to accomplish that feat. Garnett has been named to the All-NBA First Team three times (2000, 2003, 2004), the All-NBA Second Team three times (2001, 2002, 2005) and the All-NBA Third Team twice (1999, 2007). Garnett has also been named to the All-NBA Defensive First and Second Teams eight times. His NBA efficiency score of 29.2 was the highest rated of all NBA players in the 2006-2007 season.

“While it’s difficult to part ways with the young players we’ve worked hard to develop, Kevin has been the consummate professional player in the NBA and a player who I have marveled at over the years,” Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers said. “Kevin leaves everything he has out on the floor every game. He has drive, passion and a hunger to win that is unmatched across the league.”

The product of Farragut Academy High School in Illinois became the first player in more than 20 years to be drafted directly out of high school in 1995 when he was taken fifth overall by Minnesota. He currently has the longest active streak for scoring in double-figures with 398 straight games that dates back to the beginning of the 2002-03 season. That streak of 398 games is good for eighth best in NBA history. Garnett currently ranks 41st in scoring in League history, as well as 27th in rebounds.

“I am excited to become a Celtic,” Garnett said. “It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to play with players the quality of Paul (Pierce) and Ray (Allen). The Celtics have had a proud tradition and now I hope that we can add to the legacy.”

Press conference

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 31, 2007 03:15 PM

The Celtics will hold a press conference tonight at 6 p.m at the TD Banknorth Garden. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers, and Danny Ainge are all scheduled to be in attendance.

Getting closer

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff July 31, 2007 12:37 PM

The paperwork for the Kevin Garnett-to-Boston trade is being reviewed at the NBA office and it looks like the deal could be approved this afternoon.

The final point to be approved was Garnett's contract and an extension but it looks like that is getting resolved.

Garnett deal in place

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff July 30, 2007 06:40 PM

The Celtics and Timberwolves have agreed on the players to make a Kevin Garnett-to-Boston trade but no deal can be completed until issues with Garnett's contract can be worked out.

As the trade currently stands, Boston will send Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair and two first-round picks to Minnesota in exchange for Garnett.

League sources said that the reworking of Garnett's contract could still be a sticking point. Among the issues still to negotiate are the player option worth $24 million that Garnett holds for the 2008-09 season as well as a 15 percent trade kicker which must be paid in real cash at the time of the deal.

According to multiple league sources, Garnett must agree to waive a portion of the trade kicker worth approximately $6.75 million. If Garnett agrees to that contingency, then he would have some additional leverage as the Celtics attempt to restructure his current contract. Slowing down the trade/approval process is the fact that Garnett is on a cruise until the end of this week.

When trade talks between Minnesota and Boston took place before this year’s draft, the option plus Garnett’s hesitancy to play in Boston, as relayed through his agent Andy Miller, were considerable sticking points. The Celtics did not want to part with Jefferson and his long-term potential if Garnett would stay in Boston for just one season. If Garnett agrees to take his player option as a condition of the trade, the Celtics also will likely look to come to reasonable terms on an extension as another condition of the deal.

“There are serious discussions in place,” said Miller this morning.

When asked about the option as well as Garnett’s willingness to play in Boston, Miller added: “Part of the discussion that is taking place is addressing those issues as well as others to see if the destination makes sense for all parties. Everything is part of the overall picture as to how to bring this to a conclusion or go in a different direction.”

Not to be overlooked, the deal would leave Boston in a position where it would need to fill four roster spots to reach the minimum allowable 12 players. The Celtics still have not signed second-round picks Gabe Pruitt and Glen Davis.

Garnett, 31, has spent all of his 12 NBA seasons with Minnesota. He would get an extension of his contract, which has one year plus an option year remaining, the official said.

The Celtics had tried to get Garnett late last month, but his agent said he didn't want to go to Boston.

Since then, Boston acquired seven-time All-Star guard Ray Allen from Seattle in a draft day deal. Already with Paul Pierce, the Celtics would become instant contenders in the mediocre Atlantic Division with Garnett, even without promising forward Jefferson.

The Celtics obtained Allen and the 35th pick of the draft for guards Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak, and forward Jeff Green of Georgetown, whom they drafted with the fifth pick.

The Celtics have won just three playoff series during Pierce's nine years with them. They still have an NBA-record 16 championships, but none since 1986.

"They have no excuses, this team out there," Danny Ainge, the executive director of basketball operations, said after Allen was acquired.

Pierce, 29, led the Celtics in scoring last season but played only 47 games because of injury.

Allen, who turns 32 next month, averaged a career-high 26.4 points last season, his 11th, but underwent surgery to remove bone spurs on both ankles that required him to wear protective boots. He is expected to be ready for training camp.

A long, lean 6-foot-11 forward who's actually at least 2 inches taller than his listed height, Garnett's athleticism has allowed him to play all over the court -- banging against bodies in the post, swatting away shots in the lane, running the fast break, shooting top-of-the-key jumpers and even playing point guard every once in a while.

A preps-to-the-pros pioneer, Garnett's immediate impact after being selected fifth overall in 1995 by the Timberwolves paved a path for dozens and dozens of other teenagers to skip college and declare for the draft -- most of whom enjoyed far less success.

Then in October 1997, Garnett's contract changed the game -- a six-year, $126 million extension that led to significant alterations to the league's collective bargaining agreement emerging from a 1999 lockout.

Garnett forever changed the franchise in Minnesota, too. The year before he was drafted, the Wolves set an NBA mark for futility with their fourth straight 60-loss season. In just his second season, he helped lead Minnesota to its first playoff appearance -- the first of eight straight.

The last of those was the best, when the "Big Ticket" was at his peak. He won the league's MVP award and led the Wolves within two wins of the NBA finals in 2004. Garnett averaged 24.2 points and a league-high 13.9 rebounds that season, joining Larry Bird as the only players to average at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for five consecutive years.

But those idyllic days quickly ended for the Wolves, who have fired two coaches and not made the playoffs since then. Part of their problem has been Garnett's huge salary, but vice president Kevin McHale has also missed on several moves. Though he never requested a trade or said he was unhappy in Minnesota, Garnett expressed frustration with some of McHale's decisions and challenged McHale to upgrade the roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jefferson back in mix

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff July 30, 2007 02:41 PM

Al Jefferson is back in the trade talks between the Celtics and Timberwolves.

As the trade currently stands, the Celtics would send Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, and two first-round picks to the Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett.

It is uncertain how the teams would deal with Garnett's trade clause that calls for a 15 percent salary increase.

As of this morning, there still remained issues on the table to negotiate, not the least of which is the player option worth $24 million that Garnett holds for the 2008-09 season.

There is not timetable on when the deal would be finalized.

New twists in Garnett talks

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff July 30, 2007 01:45 PM

Kevin Garnett soon could become the newest member of the Celtics, multiple league sources said this afternoon, but two of the sources cautioned that any trade may not be as imminent as some early reports indicated.

As the trade currently stands, the Celtics would send Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, and two first-round picks to the Timberwolves for Garnett.

Al Jefferson is not included in the deal at the moment.

It is uncertain how the teams would deal with Garnett's trade clause that calls for a 15 percent salary increase.

As of this morning, there still remained issues on the table to negotiate, not the least of which is the player option worth $24 million that Garnett holds for the 2008-09 season.

“There are serious discussions in place,” Andy Miller, Garnett's agent, said this morning.

When asked about the option as well as Garnett’s willingness to play in Boston, Miller added: “Part of the discussion that is taking place is addressing those issues as well as others to see if the destination makes sense for all parties. Everything is part of the overall picture as to how to bring this to a conclusion or go in a different direction.”

When trade talks between Minnesota and Boston took place before this year’s draft, the option plus Garnett’s hesitancy to play in Boston, as relayed through his agent, were considerable sticking points. If Garnett agrees to take his player option as a condition of the trade, the Celtics also will likely look to come to reasonable terms on an extension as another condition of the deal.

Garnett agent in 'serious discussions'

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff July 30, 2007 11:28 AM

The Celtics and the Timberwolves could reach agreement on a deal that would bring Kevin Garnett to Boston as early as this afternoon, according to league sources. Executive director of basketball operations/GM Danny Ainge would send Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff and Sebastian Telfair to Minnesota in exchange for Garnett. But as of this morning, there still remained issues on the table to negotiate, not least of which is the player option worth $24 million that Garnett holds for the 2008-09 season.

When trade talks between Minnesota and Boston took place before this year’s draft, the option plus Garnett’s hesitancy to play in Boston, as relayed through his agent Andy Miller, were considerable sticking points. The Celtics did not want to part with Jefferson and his long-term potential if Garnett would stay in Boston for just one season. If Garnett agrees to take his player option as a condition of the trade, the Celtics also will likely look to come to reasonable terms on an extension as another condition of the deal.

“There are serious discussions in place,” said Miller this morning.

When asked about the option as well as Garnett’s willingness to play in Boston, Miller added: “Part of the discussion that is taking place is addressing those issues as well as others to see if the destination makes sense for all parties. Everything is part of the overall picture as to how to bring this to a conclusion or go in a different direction.”

KG talks revived

Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff July 30, 2007 07:22 AM

According to two reports this morning, the Celtics and Timberwolves are once again talking about a trade that would send Kevin Garnett to Boston.

Both ESPN.com and Foxsports.com are reporting that the current deal under consideration has Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff (and his large expiring contract), and more (Rajon Rondo, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair, and draft picks have also been mentioned as possibilities in the reports) heading to Minnesota in exchange for the 31-year-old Garnett.

Three unidentified sources told Foxsports.com’s Jeff Goodman that the deal is very close and could be official within 48 hours.

"It's basically done," one unidentified source told Foxsports.com.

Multiple unidentified NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that former teammates and current general managers Kevin McHale and Danny Ainge are in serious talks about the deal.

One potential hangup is whether Garnett is willing to come to Boston, which is one reason talks derailed when the C’s and T-Wolves attempted to strike a deal before the NBA Draft last month. Garnett can opt out of his contract after next season, and would likely have done that had Boston traded for him.

Garnett’s agent, Andy Miller, told the Globe last month that Garnett “is not coming to Boston."

Will Garnett have a change of heart now that other trade possibilities have fizzled and the Celtics have acquired Ray Allen? That remains to be seen, but unidentified sources indicated to ESPN.com that as of late last night, Garnett was warming to the idea.

One other consideration: Garnett is slated to earn $23 million next season, and has a $6.75 million trade kicker the Celtics would need to account for in the deal (which might mean more players included in the deal).

Garnett -- whose preferred trade destination is reportedly Phoenix -- averaged 22.4 points and 12.8 rebounds per game last season. The 22-year-old Jefferson, whom McHale reportedly covets, is coming off a breakout season in which he averaged 16 points and 11 boards per contest. Jefferson, entering his fourth season, could be in line for a contract extension soon.

What do you think of this rumored possibility? Does a starting three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett make the high price worth it? Or do you think the C’s would be mortgaging their future if they pull the trigger? Let us know by posting on this discussion thread, or voting in our survey.

Stern speaks

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff July 24, 2007 01:19 PM

NEW YORK- NBA commissioner David Stern discussed the ongoing investigation of referee Tim Donaghy at a 70-minute long press conference this morning at the Westin Hotel in Times Square.Stern repeatedly asserted that he believed Donaghy represented an "isolated case" while answering questions for the first time about Donaghy allegedly betting on NBA games and providing others with information to profit from NBA wagers.

“I’ll say it again, I understand that this is an isolated case involving an NBA referee who engaged not only in a violation of our rules, but in criminal conduct,” said Stern in his opening remarks. “But let me make it clear, that’s my current understanding, and I await the outcome of the investigation by the FBI and the determination by the Justice Department and what they are going to do with it.”

During his time at the podium in front of about 100 reporters and about a dozen top league officials, Stern chose his words carefully and often took long pauses before answering questions. The witty, sometimes strident, remarks that usually characterize his press conferences were few and far between today. Instead, Stern appeared and sounded humbled by the magnitude of the alleged betting scandal that could involve game-fixing and organized crime.

“I have been involved with refereeing and obviously been involved with the NBA for 40 years in some shape or form,” said Stern. “I can tell you that this is the most serious situation and worst situation that I have ever experienced either as a fan of the NBA, a lawyer for the NBA or a commissioner of the NBA…I feel betrayed by what happened on behalf of the sport regardless of how protective I’ve been [of referees]. This is not something that is anything other than an act of betrayal of what we know in sports as a sacred trust.”

Yi could be a C

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 23, 2007 10:35 AM

Something you might have missed from Peter May's basketball notes column Sunday:

"The Celtics, by the way, would have taken [Yi Jianlian] at No. 5 had they kept the pick, said Doc Rivers."

So there you have it. Yi Jianlian, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West, or Ray Allen and Glen Davis. We're not allowed to vote...

From the archive

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 21, 2007 12:52 PM

The Globe archive turned up an interesting story in light of the recent FBI investigation of NBA referee Tim Donaghy. In a 2005 Celtics notebook headlined "Rivers: Referee had an agenda", Celtics coach Doc Rivers questioned a call by Donaghy that got Rivers tossed from a game:

"I think Tim Donaghy has got it in [for me]," said Rivers. "That was a personal tech [the first time]. But I earned the second one. I don't approve of what I did. I hurt the team. We have had run-ins, but you always have run-ins. But the first tech, I never got off the bench and I still got the call. What was that about? I'll call the league office on it, but there's not much you can do. Instead of running up the floor [after the first technical, Donaghy] hung back. I made a decision on the second and that was a horrible decision. It hurt the team."

Summer League observations

Posted by Peter May, Globe Staff July 13, 2007 09:05 PM

Some observations from the Celtics-Bucks Summer League game Friday night in Las Vegas:

Rajon Rondo was held out of the action. He’s fine. The coaching staff wanted to get more of a look at second round draft pick Gabe Pruitt, who started the game along with Glen Davis, Gerald Green, Allen Ray and Leon Powe

Brandon Wallace, who the Celtics signed as an undrafted free agent, got a taste of Summer League officiating when he powered home a follow-up dunk, but was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim. It was a bad call; the kid had nowhere to land.

The Bucks unveiled their Christmas lineup, starting David Noel and Noel Phoenix. If there’s an NBA rotation player on the Milwaukee roster, it’s hard to see who it might be. Their top draft pick, Yi Jianlin, played for the Chinese National Team and has left town. Former Celtics assistant Tony Brown coached the Milwaukee team.

Speaking of leaving town, so has Celtics coach Doc Rivers. He’d been here more than a week. Danny Ainge hung around to catch the game and found time to kibbitz with Kevin McHale.

Former Celtics GM Chris Wallace, now running the Memphis Grizzlies, was on site after having missed the Grizzlies previous game to attend to contractual matters for new signee Darko Milicic.

Video highlights

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 13, 2007 04:21 PM

Dance, dance, dance

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 12, 2007 11:36 PM

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If the Celtics put half as much effort into their basketball team as they did their dance team, we wouldn't be talking about Sebastian Telfair as the backup point guard.

The Celtics held the final auditions for the 2007-2008 Celtics Dance Team tonight at Boston's Avalon dance club. Let's just say it was a scene.

To be completely honest, the 47 women who made the final audition were more talented than the format may have constituted. These were all phenomenal dancers, and it seemed a pity to put their fate in the hands of "Tina" from MTV's The Real World, among the other judges.

Nonetheless, those 47 were whittled down to the final 21 after a group number, dance numbers in groups of four, a swimsuit competition, and individual dance numbers to hits like 'Start me up' and 'Pour some sugar on me.'

About 200 people packed the airplane hangar that is Avalon for the two-hour event, despite the Red Sox game taking place across the street. This reporter was granted VIP access at a table originally reserved for Delonte West and crew (it said so on the placard).

What was once a group of 250 hopefuls was pared down to 46 for the final two days of tryouts. The finalists practiced for two straight days at Avalon to perfect their moves, and the show reflected the effort of all who tried out. The crowd, consisting mostly of family and friends of the dancers (as well as some who were there to 'be seen') were highly supportive of the group.

Celtics Dancer loyalists should be happy to know that Emily (of Emily's Dancer Diary) and Courtney (the team's 2007 All-Star representative) both made this year's squad.

Check out a photo gallery from the event.

Gomes' thoughts

Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff July 12, 2007 11:47 AM

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Celtics forward Ryan Gomes stopped in Worcester Wednesday to work with campers at Al Pettway’s Worcester City Hoops camp at Worcester Tech.

Gomes, who has Central Mass. ties after spending a year at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, talked with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette's Paul Jarvey about his excitement for the upcoming season. Here are some highlights:

“I think we can (reach the playoffs), but then again we said that last year,” Gomes said as he signed autographs and posed for pictures with the young campers at Worcester Technical High School. “That’s the goal. It’s been long enough for the Boston Celtics fans. With the addition of Ray Allen to go along with Paul Pierce and with the presence of Al Jefferson, we should be ready.

“We have a lot of good young players who played a lot of minutes last year — myself, Rajon Rondo, Alan Ray — now we’re ready. [Not making the playoffs] can’t be because we’re young.”

Gomes loves the trade for Allen, but admits he was stunned when he heard of the deal on draft day.

“I was a little surprised. No, I was a lot surprised,” he said. “Even though like Danny Ainge [the Celtics’ executive director of basketball operations] says, a rumor is a rumor until it comes to life, the rumors I was hearing were Shawn Marion or Kevin Garnett. It was weird because I thought it was going to be one of those other guys or we would take the pick. But to see him come — he’s a guy that still has a lot of game in him and [can] score a lot of points — it’s a good addition for us.”

He doesn’t know Allen well, but the pair used to joke about the Big East battles between Providence (Gomes’ alma mater) and UConn (Allen’s school) when the Celtics would play the Sonics. Gomes is looking forward to having Allen on his side.

“I think we’re going in a good direction,” Gomes said. “It’s going to take the pressure off Paul [Pierce] and Al Jefferson. It’s going to be difficult for teams to match up. You can’t double one and leave Ray open. If you guard everyone evenly, I think we still have an advantage. It’s a plus in my eyes to bring a player of that caliber on the team, and I think he’s going to be a great guy in the locker room, just from the things I’ve heard about.”

Gomes doesn’t know if Ainge will make more moves, but he doesn’t think he has to.

“The biggest need for us is to stay healthy,” Gomes said. “Last year, before guys got hurt we were headed in the right direction. This year, we have to stay healthy and commit to defense. With the addition of Ray Allen, we’re going to put up points, but we have to be able to defend as well. It has a lot to do with individual, but more team [defense] that needs to be done.”

Gomes also spoke on what his role might entail this season, saying: “I don’t know what position I’m going to be playing, whether it’s the 3 or the 4, so I’ve been working on a combination of both. I’ve been working on post moves, working on my jump shot. I just want to be able to play both positions. It’s a little bit of a challenge for me, because those are two totally different positions. It’s not like the 4 and the 5. I have to be aware of doing both and being able to guard someone at the 3 position. It’s going to be interesting, but as long as I’m on the court, it doesn’t matter what position.”

Click here to read the full article
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Oden shut down

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 10, 2007 04:25 PM

The Portland Trail Blazers will shut down No. 1 pick Greg Oden for the rest of summer league so Oden can have his tonsils removed, the Blazers are reporting on their website.

The swollen tonsils are obstructing Oden’s breathing and limiting his stamina, but Oden is not making excuses, according to the Oregonian.

“There's no excuses, because I was out there playing,” Oden said, according to The Oregonian. “And if I'm playing, I'm playing, so if I have a bad game, it's not on my tonsils, it's on me.”

Oden was limited to six points and two rebounds before fouling out (with 10 fouls) against the Celtics in his summer league debut.

A surgery date has not been set, but Oden will need about 2-3 weeks to recover, according to the Oregonian.

Celtics youth camp

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 10, 2007 11:08 AM

The Celtics will host three youth basketball camps this summer for children between the ages of 8 and 16, according to a press release from the team.

Two of the camps will be held at BasketballCity in Boston. The first runs July 16-20, and the second August 6-10. The other camp will take place at the Sports Authority Training Center in Waltham July 23-27.

Admission to the camp includes “a reversible camp jersey, camp shorts, two tickets to a Celtics game, and an awards presentation at the end of the week,” according to the release. Celtics players and legends will speak to players on topics such as sportsmanship and conditioning.

Those wishing to sign up for the camp should visit Celtics.com.

C's sign Wallace

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff July 9, 2007 08:15 PM

LAS VEGAS-The Celtics signed undrafted free agent Brandon Wallace this afternoon to a partially guaranteed two-year deal, though neither side immediately commented on the value of the contract. The signing came shortly after Boston lost to the San Antonio Spurs, 61-53, during summer league play at Cox Pavilion. Coming out of South Carolina, the 6-foot-9-inch, 203-pound Wallace has been impressive at small forward during two summer league games, especially since he had to adjust to the new position after playing center in college.

“Brandon Wallace is a very talented young man,” said Ainge. “He’s got a great basketball IQ and he’s very aware defensively. I like his passing, defense, rebounding and shot-blocking ability. I don’t know how good he can be at [small forward], but he’s a guy we’re excited to see develop.”

In the Celtics summer league opener against the Portland Trail Blazers, Wallace finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds and 1 blocked shot and 1 steal in 26 minutes. He followed that performance with 4 points, 5 rebounds and 1 steal yesterday against the Spurs.

“Everything happened so fast,” said Wallace, who stayed after the Celtics game and watched the Memphis Grizzlies play the Detroit Pistons sitting beside his agent Eric Fleisher. “If you asked me if I expected it to happen this soon, I would have said no. I just thank Boston for giving me the opportunity, believing that a guy who played [center] in college can play [small forward] in the NBA. It’s rare that someone that goes undrafted signs this early.”

Wallace also thanked the Celtics for making him switch from center to small forward.

“It was actually a big favor,” said Wallace. “In the SEC, it was rough playing against guys that [center] size and it would have been tougher [in the NBA.] Whoever made that call, I appreciate it.”

Fleisher commented that the Celtics have long held a strong interest in Wallace. According to Fleisher, the Celtics called him two minutes after the draft finished, looking to add Wallace to their summer league roster.

“Boston showed a real interest in Brandon early,” said Fleisher. “I think they did a very good job of evaluating him as a player and as a person. He had a very good workout [for Boston] and it reconfirmed things that they’d seen. I had a very good feeling it would be a nice fit.”

After summer league finishes, Wallace will head to Boston to continue working out with team personnel.

Powe deserves praise

Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff July 7, 2007 07:04 PM

LAS VEGAS - As so often happens to Leon Powe, his willingness to play hard every second and do the dirty work is often overshadowed by flashier players with bigger names. So, let’s give credit where credit is due. Powe played a big role in keeping Greg Oden from establishing any rhythm in his debut Friday night at Cox Pavilion.

“I look forward to these challenges,” said Powe, who finished the contest with 19 points and 9 rebounds while frustrating Oden. “I don’t back down. You’ve got to keep [Oden] out of the paint. If you let him get too deep, I don’t care who’s guarding him, he’s going to score or get fouled. So, you just try to keep him out of the paint, push him out before he catches it. You need to do your work early, and I had a lot of help from my teammates. I’m just trying to go out there and play hard, play good defense.”

  • Danny Ainge said there are ongoing discussions with second-round draft picks Glen Davis and Gabe Pruitt concerning contract offers, but he doesn’t expect to have anything agreed upon with the rookies until after summer league

  • The Celtics practiced for about 90 minutes at Del Sol high school today. The workout consisted mainly of scrimmages, giving players who did not see a lot of action against Portland the chance to test themselves in a more competitive setting

  • Brandon Wallace did not participate in practice yesterday due to a stomach ailment.

  • Summer league update

    Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff July 7, 2007 12:44 AM

    LAS VEGAS -- Greg Oden said the transition to the NBA would be “rough.” As it turned out, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft knew what he was talking about.

    Oden struggled to stay out of foul trouble in his professional debut. Oden picked up three quick fouls in the first quarter and fouled out with 10 late in the fouth. Oden was in good company with the high foul count considering Jeff Green picked up eight fouls in the Seattle Supersonics' 77-66 loss to Dallas Mavericks earlier yesterday. Yi Jianlian had seven fouls in Team China’s 86-77 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

    But both Yi and Durant were able to put points on the board. Durant finished his professional debut with 18 points (5 for 17), capitalizing on free throw opportunities (7 for 9). Yi also made the most of his trips to the line (9 for 12) on his way to 23 points. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 26 points, 11 rebounds while Oden finished with 6 points (3 for 4) 2 blocked shots and 2 rebounds in the Trail Blazers 74-66 loss.

    The Celtics received a strong showing from the always tough Leon Powe (19 points, 9 rebounds). As for the rookies, Glen Davis finished with 3 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 8 fouls in 24 minutes. Pruitt posted 7 points and 5 fouls in 18 minutes...At times, the action off the court was as interesting as the action on it. Sitting front and center were Danny Ainge, assistant coach turned Ainge assistant Dave Wohl, Doc Rivers and Sebastian Telfair, all in a row. During some long stretches in the first half, Telfair, Rivers and Ainge had their attention diverted from the game by autograph seekers...Assistant coach Armond Hill handled sideline duties for the Boston summer league entry.

    Report: Hill to Suns

    Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 5, 2007 02:26 PM

    Forward Grant Hill has agreed to a free-agent contract with the Phoenix Suns, Hill’s agent Lon Babby told ESPN.com’s Chad Ford. The two-year deal is good for $1.8 million this season and $2.8 million next year, according to the report.

    The deal will not be official until July 11, the first day free agents are allowed to sign new contracts.

    "Obviously money wasn't the biggest factor here," Babby told Ford. "He had offers for a lot more money. Grant wants a chance to win a championship and he wanted to go to a place that would give him a chance to contribute. Phoenix was the perfect fit."

    Hill played six seasons with the Orlando Magic but missed almost 300 games due to injury while under a $93 million contract.

    Dancing queens

    Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff July 5, 2007 02:16 PM

    The final 47 candidates for the 2007-2008 Boston Celtics Dancers will audition on Thursday, July 12 at Boston’s Avalon nightclub, according to a press release from the team. This is the final round of auditions for the 21-member dance team.

    The auditions are open to the public and will begin at 8:30 p.m. General admission tickets will be available at the Avalon box office for a suggested $10.00 donation to the Shamrock Foundation on the night of the “show.” The show will consist of four segments – a choreographed dance segment with all the finalists, a dance segment in groups of four, a swimsuit pageant, and a solo performance from each finalist.

    Allen: Back in Nov.

    Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff July 3, 2007 01:21 PM

    Celtics guard Tony Allen said today he'll be back in November from the torn ACL in his left knee he suffered last season, but was non-committal about being ready for the start of the season. "For sure I know I'll be back in November," said Allen, when asked if he would be ready for the start of the season.

    Last season the Celtics played their first game on Nov. 1. Pre-season games were played in October.

    Allen injured the knee on a freak play during the third quarter of a 97-84 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 10. After the whistle, Allen went up for a dunk. He missed the superfluous slam and landed awkwardly, injuring the knee. He had surgery three days later.

    Allen, who said he has yet to meet new teammate Ray Allen, was upbeat about his progress.

    "It's coming along great," said Allen. "I'm running. I'm shooting jump shots, but I'm just taking it easy because some days it feels good and some days it feels bad. [There are] ups and downs. But for the most part I feel comfortable about getting back to where I need to be."

    Fen-Ray Park?

    Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff July 3, 2007 12:21 PM

    Just hours after being introduced to the local media, Ray Allen, the newest member of the Boston Celtics, dropped by Fenway Park Monday night to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

    allen375.jpg

    (Photos courtesy of Jim Davis / Globe Staff, and the Associated Press).

    1-on-1

    Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff July 3, 2007 10:00 AM

    The Globe's Shira Springer went 1-on-1 in an interview with the Celtics' newly acquired, All-Star guard Ray Allen Monday:

    Allen talks a good game

    Posted by Peter May, Globe Staff July 2, 2007 06:37 PM

    If Ray Allen plays as well as he talks, the Celtics will be a very happy group next season. Right now, there’s no reason to believe he won’t, given his history on and off the court.

    The Celtics’ signature acquisition from draft night met the media Monday and the moment should be chronicled and passed on to all who come after him.

    Everything he said was perfect, except for when he said he had "two perfect pairs of feet." He quickly made the correction. Just like he shoots — stopping on a dime.

    His agent asked when was the last time the Celtics had anyone quite like this. Who knows? Ricky Davis? (Actually, Raef LaFrentz is cut from the same cloth, but he’s not in the same zip code as Allen.)

    The Celtics can talk about Allen’s scoring, and how now they feel they won’t have any lulls on offense (they said the same things when they got Wally Szczerbiak, too), but from the standpoint of professionalism and mentoring, they appear to have gotten one of the best. And because he plays — and plays well — his is a voice that will demand to be heard and his is a path that will demand to be followed. Others on the team might have similar thoughts (like, say, Brian Scalabrine) but today’s young players will follow the leader if the leader has any cachet. Allen does.

    "It's invaluable," coach Doc Rivers said. "Our young guys didn’t have enough to learn from in the locker room. It was Paul [Pierce] and Wally and that was about it. Ray is a consummate pro, and the things he brings to the game will resonate in our locker room. That is something I don’t think the average fan gets. Players can teach other players about being a pro. Coaches can’t do that. So that'll be great to have a guy like him around for that."

    And there should be an eager group of guys wanting to soak in all that Allen has to offer. Think Gerald Green couldn’t learn something just by watching Allen? Or Allen Ray? And do you think Pierce (who we’re told loves the trade) will welcome a guy like Allen, who’s a little older, a little wiser, and who also has been an multiyear All-Star to boot?

    "I’ve been part of good teams and I’ve been part of bad teams," Allen said. "The question is, what lessons are we learning as we go along? I tell the young kids, you have eight or nine months of the year to play basketball and the rest of the year you can relax. So, you’ve got to be ready. It doesn’t last forever."

    He said when he was with the Bucks, he had to learn to step back and allow Sam Cassell to be Sam Cassell, Glenn Robinson to be Glenn Robinson, and Tim Thomas to be Tim Thomas (come to think of it, that was a pretty darn good team). The same holds true here. When Pierce gets on one of his rolls, Allen said he’s going to enjoy it just like everyone else.

    "You have to ride that, let it go," he said. "You allow him to be who he is, and it allows me to be who I am."

    He is coming off a career-best 26.4 points per game season, one that was cut short by surgery to remove bone spurs from his ankles.

    He missed 27 games and the Sonics finished with the fifth-worst record in the league. He had a career-best 54 points in an overtime victory over the Utah Jazz last Jan. 12.

    Right now, he’s recovering from April ankle surgery and is taking it slow. He was late for today’s news conference because of his physical, and one could almost imagine the doctors holding up the X-ray of Allen’s ankle and looking quizzically, like they did at the famous X-ray of LaFrentz’s knee ("Where did that come from?").

    But Allen says he’s fine, which should augur well for him as he begins his 13th NBA season. He’s at or near the top of everyone’s list for best shooting touch.

    He’s a dead-eye from the free-throw line, and while he enjoys the reputation of being one of the best 3-point shooters in the league, he actually finished 95th in 3-point accuracy, behind several Celtics, including the guy he replaced, Szczerbiak. He turns 32 later this month.

    "I don’t look at this game in regards to my age," he said. "A lot of the important stuff you do comes off the court. I take care of my body. I put good things into it.

    "Eighty-two games is a lot of games. I tell the younger kids that one thing that shouldn’t change over the course of a season is you. You always try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. You always try to eat the right food. Just getting them to understand that is half the battle."

    Rivers quickly interjected: "The whole battle."

    Allen, incidentally, came very close to beginning his NBA career with the Celtics. Boston had the No. 6 pick in the 1996 draft and Allen went fifth to Minnesota (which promptly traded him to Milwaukee for Stephon Marbury).

    Larry Bird, then a consultant for the Celtics, was a big Allen guy and was hoping he’d fall. Instead, the team got Antoine Walker. Allen said he became a Celtics fan in college at UConn.

    He said he’s elated to be back on the East Coast so his friends and family won’t get insomnia watching him play.

    In short, he’s a guy who wants to be here. More important, he also may be a guy who is needed here if the Celtics are going to make any kind of noise in 2007-08.

    This story will appear in Tuesday's Boston Globe; Peter May can be reached at P_May@globe.com.


    Summer league roster set

    Posted by Gregory Lee Jr. Globe Staff July 2, 2007 04:55 PM

    The Celtics announced their summer league roster today.

    57 Lance Allred C 6-11 270 Weber State

    46 Pat Carroll G/F 6-5 190 St. Joseph’s

    11 Glen Davis F 6-9 289 Louisiana State

    59 Torin Francis F 6-11 252 Notre Dame

    58 Andreas Glyniadakis C 7-1 280 Greece

    5 Gerald Green G-F 6-8 200 Gulf Shores Academy

    0 Leon Powe F 6-8 240 California

    13 Gabe Pruitt G 6-4 170 Southern California

    12 Allan Ray G 6-2 190 Villanova

    9 Rajon Rondo G 6-1 171 Kentucky

    36 Sergio Sanchez G 6-3 207 Spain

    49 Brandon Wallace F 6-9 203 South Carolina

    The Celtics will hold practice sessions on Tuesday at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, NV at 7 p.m. The Celtics will also hold practices at the Desert Pines High School on Wednesday at 11 a.m. and on Thursday at the Cox Pavilion at 11 a.m.

    The Celtics first game in the Summer League will be Friday at 10 p.m. when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers. The Celtics five-game schedule in Las Vegas continues with match-ups against the San Antonio Spurs on July 9 at 4 p.m., the Chinese National Team on July 11 at 10 p.m., the Milwaukee Bucks on July 13 at 8 p.m. and will conclude with a game versus the Dallas Mavericks on July 14 at 4 p.m.

    Rookies, Allen here

    Posted by Shira Springer, Globe Staff July 2, 2007 03:37 PM

    WALTHAM -- When draft night additions Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Gabe Pruitt took their seats beside coach Doc Rivers and executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge for a late-morning press conference today, the first question that came to mind was, “Where’s Ray Allen?” For likely the only time in his Celtics career, Allen was the second act to the rookie pair, appearing for his own press conference after the Celtics medical staff checked him out.

    As expected, Allen is delighted to be back in familiar territory less than 100 miles from his alma mater, UConn. He was also looking forward to throwing out the first pitch at the Red Sox game this evening, wisely declaring himself a fan of the team. Also, he expects a partnership with Paul Pierce to work well with mutual respect a guiding principle.

    While Allen brought veteran confidence to the proceedings in the Hall of Fame room at the Celtics practice facility, Davis and Pruitt brought rookie exuberance and optimism.

    “It means so much" to be a Celtic, said Davis. “Being a basketball fan, being so in love with the game of basketball, you have to know the Boston Celtics. When you hear that, you think of immortality, so many championships. To be a part of this organization is a blessing. ... I’m so excited about the days to come,"

    Added Pruitt: “It means a lot to me. There’s a lot of history here. I’m just happy to be here and be a part of the Celtic family."

    Both Davis and Pruitt couldn’t stop smiling and are eager to depart for the Las Vegas Summer League. The Celtics entry begins practice tomorrow in Sin City, then opens play with a prime-time game against Greg Oden and the Portland TrailBlazers on July 6. Current Celtics joining Davis and Pruitt will be Leon Powe, Rajon Rondo, Allan Ray, and Gerald Green.

    Photos from Waltham

    Posted by Chris Forsberg, Boston.com Staff July 2, 2007 01:06 PM

    Here are a couple of photos as the Celtics introduced newly acquired Ray Allen, and second-round draft choices Gabe Pruitt and Glen "Big Baby" Davis to the media Monday. Click here for a gallery of photos.

    07072007c4.jpg

    Allen, left, laughs as Celtics head coach Doc Rivers speaks at today's press conference.

    07072007c1.jpg

    Davis holds up a No. 11 jersey, while Pruitt displays No. 13 (formerly worn by Delonte West).

    07072007c2.jpg

    Davis, left, and Pruitt talk to the media.

    07072007c3.jpg

    Pruitt, left, and Davis are introduced to the media. (Globe Staff Photos/David Kamerman)

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