Tim Thomas, Tracy McGrady Still Possibilities

June 24, 1997

Celtics eye Van HornThere is still time for Philadelphia coach Larry Brown to change his mind some 700-800 times before tomorrow night's draft, but the way beliefs are running, the Celtics might be welcoming Keith Van Horn and Ron Mercer with the No.3 and 6 picks.

There is, according to a source who has been dealing with the C's, a better-than-average chance the Celts will go into the draft with no first-round picks, but the current shakeout gives them some interesting options. Word is either Van Horn or Colorado point guard Chauncey Billups would make Rick Pitino happy.

Brown, with the second overall choice behind San Antonio (Tim Duncan), has thus far held onto his thoughts of putting Billups in the backcourt with Allen Iverson. That would leave the Celtics to choose between Van Horn and Texas Tech power forward (perhaps part-time center) Tony Battie. They like the latter, but Van Horn has been too impressive lately to pass up - and he might also open the door for some interesting post-draft trades.

At No.6, Pitino will likely be looking at Tim Thomas, Adonal Foyle, Tracy McGrady and former pupil Ron Mercer. Though Mercer may not be an ideal fit for the C's currently, they could go in that direction because of larger questions surrounding others in that mix.

Asked what his needs were, Pitino said yesterday: "Well, we could use a 1-guard, we could use a small forward, we could use a scoring power forward, we could use a center, and we could use a 2-guard."

He then smiled and added: "The one thing we don't need is a 12th man."

Pitino said high schooler McGrady is still on their radar screen.

Pitino may be more willing to deal certain players than he's letting on. An executive from another club said yesterday that, despite Pitino's comments that he probably wouldn't trade Antoine Walker for anyone other than Michael Jordan, the Celts are very willing to discuss Walker in a package that would bring a major player in return.

Pitino said he has received calls from clubs interested in Dee Brown, whom he has instructed to come to camp with at 185 pounds.

Of the interest, he said: "That tells you people in this league think that if he gets himself in great shape he can play this game."

The Celtics yesterday named John Carroll as their third assistant coach, though he will function mainly as an advance scout. Carroll most recently worked for Orlando.

The former Duquesne coach already has a huge stockpile of information on teams' tendencies, and the Celtics were pleased to have the opportunity to sign him after the overhaul of the Magic staff upon Chuck Daly's hiring.

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