Trade Winds Blow at Draft; Telfair, Ratliff and Rondo in the Fold
WALTHAM - It was a long night in the War Room, but Danny Ainge was very pleased with the Celtics draft, as they nabbed Sebastian Telfair and Theo Ratliff from Portland, and acquired the draft rights to Rajon Rondo via the Phoenix Suns.
"I think it was a great night," said Ainge. "We addressed some needs and we think we got two terrific young players and got some cap management at the same time."
The Celtics kicked off the night by taking Villanova's Randy Foye at #7, but Foye was dealt to the Blazers along with Dan Dickau, Raef LaFrentz and cash considerations in exchange point guard Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and a second round selection in 2008. Telfair is a guard that Ainge has liked since he was a rookie in 2004.
"Telfair is [more ready than] all of the point guards in the draft, he had 1,500 minutes under his belt and fills a need for us," said Danny Ainge. "He is a playmaker, a passer with great vision and speed."
Reached by phone at about 10 p.m., Telfair was excited about becoming a Celtic and returning to the East Coast. Telfair played high school ball in Brooklyn and was the focus of the basketball documentary Through the Fire.
"Yes I was surprised, I didn't really know when it was coming. I heard rumors but when it was finalized I was very happy that it went through. I'm excited to play for a team that plays up-and-down, that's a better fit for me," said Telfair, who scored his first NBA points in the FleetCenter and will compete for the Celtics in the Vegas Summer League next month.
"This is my third season and I'd like to be in the playoffs," Telfair said.
Doc Rivers also said that Telfair and Delonte West would compete for the starting point guard gig.
"This trade has been talked about for a couple of weeks. There were times when we thought it wouldn't go through," said Rivers.
Meanwhile, Ratliff gives the Celtics an interior shot blocking and rebounding presence at the four spot, and is a guy who Telfair says "knows how to win games and hold down the paint."
The Celtics did end up with a first round pick, selecting at #21 when they reached a deal with the Phoenix Suns, acquiring the draft rights to Kentucky point guard Rajon Rondo and Brian Grant in exchange for a future first round pick. Rondo worked out for the second time in Waltham on Monday and regularly blew by his opponents throughout the workout and finished strong at the basket. He is expected to be introduced in Waltham Thursday afternoon.
"We had Rondo rated very, very high in this draft. When we saw he was available around 15, 16, we started exploring some opportunities to get him," said Ainge. "We feel like speed is the way the game is going right now."
As for Foye, he was dealt again later and ended up with the Minnesota Timberwolves.