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Sports

June 29, 2007

Blockbuster deal for C's

BOSTON | Superstars just have a way of influencing a team.

Celtics star Paul Pierce wanted to enter the 2007-08 season with a proven NBA sidekick, and the Celtics brass satisfied their franchise player in a big way on draft night.

With the fifth pick in the draft, the Celtics took Georgetown forward Jeff Green. But even before the pick was made, word was it was simply a formality.

The Celtics swung a blockbuster deal that sent the draft pick along with guard Delonte West and forward Wally Szczerbiak to the Seattle SuperSonics for perennial All-Star guard Ray Allen and the 35th overall pick, which resulted in the draft rights to Glen "Big Baby" Davis.

So much for rebuilding.

When the deal was announced by ESPN, it was met with an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the fans in attendance at the draft party taking place at the TD Banknorth Garden.

Does this make the Celtics a favorite for the NBA finals? Not at the moment. But does it make them a contender in the East? More than likely.

"He (Allen) is one of the top 25 players in the league," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "He's a great scorer, a great shooter and an underrated ballhandler. ... And he's a finisher. Now when we take Paul or Al (Jefferson) off the floor, we still have Ray Allen, which is pretty good."

Trade rumors had been flying around Boston since the Celtics missed out on the Greg Oden/Kevin Durant sweepstakes on the night of the NBA draft lottery. But nearly all of those proposals had Boston sending star-in-the-making forward Al Jefferson in the deal for either Minnesota forward Kevin Garnett or Phoenix forward Shawn Marion.

While the apparent deal may not bring the Green a player as dominant as Garnett or with the potential of Oden, what it does bring them is a player who can shoot. And to simply say Allen can shoot is a bit of an understatement.

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