Pitino Eyes Duncan (and Raef)

May 9, 1997

The new president and coach of the Celtics didn't hide his feelings yesterday. He was asked which players he likes in the upcoming NBA draft. Rick Pitino mentioned that he would be happy if a couple of Kansas coach "Roy Williams' players" decided to enter the June 25 event.

He was talking about junior forward Raef LaFrentz. It is known that Pitino loves his game. The only problem is that LaFrentz has not declared, and if he is to be a part of the draft, he must make himself eligible by this weekend.

Pitino, who will have two lottery picks with which to work, also likes Tim Duncan. He said he wants M.L. Carr to go to Secaucus, N.J., and come home with the top selection when the lottery order is chosen May 18. If that is the case and he selects Duncan, Pitino cautions eager fans. "As someone who has coached against Duncan, I know he is someone who will have struggles like any other rookie."

He said the Wake Forest center reminds him of a shot-blocking Brad Daugherty, the five-time All-Star for the Cavaliers. Would Pitino like to have him?

"Certainly," he said.

Since Pitino spoke so strongly about being creative, don't be surprised if the Celtics package a couple of players and their second draft pick to another team. Several times yesterday, Pitino said there would be changes on the roster. He talked about Dana Barros, Dino Radja, and Antoine Walker more than once.

Before he was asked why he didn't mention anyone else, he said, "I don't want to leave anybody out because, one by one, there are different situations with them contractually."

That could be the case. So could this: Before or on draft day, the Celtics will be very active traders.

No comments:

Follow by Email