June 26, 2007
Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers boarded a plane for Phoenix late yesterday to see Jeff Green, Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah work out together today.
The Suns are hosting the session and David Griffin, the club's senior vice president of basketball operations, said his team is getting close to a deal to move into the top 10 in Thursday's draft.
But, according to an involved source, one should read nothing more into the attendance of Ainge and Rivers than them wanting to see Green go against competition, as well as getting another look at Brewer and Noah. The Celts traveled to Washington to see Green work out alone, but now that the deadline has passed and he's staying in the draft, he can accept travel expenses to visit teams.
With Phoenix holding the 24th and 29th picks in the first round as of yesterday, the three had to be comfortable with the possibility that the Suns would be moving up before making the trip.
The Celts and Suns do have a good working relationship (the C's got the draft rights to Rajon Rondo from them last year for the Cleveland pick that is No. 24), and it's possible deals could be discussed. Shawn Marion's name has come up in the past, and while the Celtics had questions about him anyway, he has said Boston is not a desired destination. If he is discussed again, Ainge would be in position to make a closer pitch.
Meanwhile, reports were swirling that the Celts could be involved in a four-team scenario with the Lakers, Minnesota and Indiana. According to one published story, the Celtics would give up Al Jefferson and the No. 5 pick and get Jermaine O'Neal in return, but that one is going nowhere. The Celts would not deal Jefferson even straight up for O'Neal.
Sources continued to state that while the Celtics-Garnett matter shows signs of waning, neither side is willing to put it to bed.
``It is not dead,'' said one involved source. ``I'd just leave it at that.''
But it appears other teams - the Lakers perhaps chief among them - are trying to get involved with Garnett.
Said a personnel man from another club, ``That's why teams don't like it when things get out about trade talks. The Celtics and Minnesota were talking for a while, and they might have been able to pull something off if they could have kept it quiet. But once it got out, other teams started seeing what they could do.''
But, the source added, the Celts' offer with Jefferson and the No. 5 pick at its heart, is probably the best the Wolves can get. ``That's why this thing is still going,'' he said.
The Celtics clearly are making a major attempt to see what they can get for No. 5, and it is possible they could deal downward in the first round (even if it's not with Phoenix). Charlotte has Nos. 8 and 22, and there have been discussions along those lines, as well as others.
If the C's do stay at 5, Green, Brewer, Yi Jianlian and Noah now are said to be most closely in their sights - assuming Al Horford is gone by then. The club admitted its list has changed a bit during the last couple of weeks, but there is word also that it could be happy, too, with a move down to select someone such as Spencer Hawes or an allegedly sliding Brandan Wright.
Ainge and Rivers are scheduled to return to Boston after the session in Phoenix and hold their final workout at HealthPoint in Waltham tomorrow. But missing from that exercise will be BC forward Jared Dudley, who has pulled out because he is said to believe he will be gone before the Celts' second-round pick (No. 32 overall). This will not be a real problem for the club, in that it has seen more than enough of the Eagle to gauge his value.