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9.02.2008

Hawks may have Tampered with Ainge

1981-82 Boston Celtics

Don't be surprised if the Celtics file tampering charges against the Atlanta Hawks with the NBA league office in the near future. The Celtics are convinced that the Hawks made a few back-door moves with the Toronto Blue Jays trying to block Danny Ainge from coming to Boston. Toronto general manager Pat Gillick admitted in a deposition taken for the Ainge trial in New York that he had conversed with Stan Kasten in July. Kasten happens to be the general manager of the Hawks.

So you might ask, "What is the general manager of a baseball team in Toronto talking to a general manager of a basketball team in Atlanta talking about?" Gillick admitted the topic was Ainge, saying that Kasten just wanted to know how the lawsuit was going. The Atlanta connection is this: The Hawks and the Atlanta Braves in the National League are both owned by the same man, Ted Turner. The night before the NBA draft last year, the Hawks called Celtic executives and wanted to know if Boston was going to draft Ainge. The Celtics drafted Ainge, giving them his NBA rights for one year. That thwarted Atlanta but evidently didn't stop them from trying.

Peter Bavasi, president of the Blue Jays, admitted in his deposition that he had conversations with executives of the Braves about making a trade for Ainge but that it never materialized. The Celtics feel the scenario was supposed to be that the Hawks draft Ainge to get his NBA rights, then the Braves would make a deal for Ainge in baseball, placing his rights in both sports under Turner. Turner could then have Ainge play basketball for him.

What the Celtics hope to do is show that Atlanta did interfere, and then have the league extend the Celtics' rights to Ainge for two more years, covering his baseball contract, with which the Blue Jays are currently holding him hostage. Then it wouldn't do Toronto any good to let Ainge sit at home, because the Celtics would still get him eventually, and by that time Ainge wouldn't have to.-

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