Teams, players see the sense in picks as draft dust settles
LAS VEGAS - If there is one thing former Trail Blazer Sebastian Telfair has learned during his short time in the NBA, it's that there are no guarantees.
The only point guard ever to go directly from high school to the draft lottery is now wearing a different uniform. The pride of Coney Island hopes to become the pride of Beantown.
'I'm on a team that has an opportunity to make the playoffs this year,' Telfair says. 'I'll get a chance to play with a superstar (Paul Pierce). I'm going to take advantage of it.'
Not that Telfair blew his opportunities in Portland. At times he befuddled opponents and dazzled fans with his June-bug moves to the hoop. But with Steve Blake and Jarrett Jack sharing the minutes last season, one of them was expendable.
Boston provided the chance for the Blazers to trade for the seventh pick in the June 28 draft - a move that enabled Portland to get rookie guard Brandon Roy - but the Celtics wanted Telfair.
'Sebastian was the biggest reason we made the trade,' says Danny Ainge, Boston's executive director of basketball operations. 'We liked Brandon Roy. That was a great selection by Portland. We'd have done the same thing.
'But we had so many wings and were desperate for a point. We really liked Sebastian. He's a tough kid. A smart kid. He knows how to play. It was a good deal for us.'
The teams also swapped veteran centers - Theo Ratliff going to Boston for Raef LaFrentz. Ratliff has two years remaining on his contract, LaFrentz three.
'The biggest thing for us was cap management,' Ainge says. 'Raef had an extra year guaranteed. We'll miss Raef's shooting, and he's a good guy in the locker room. But we can use what Theo brings to the table - rebounding and shot-blocking.'
Telfair, 21, says he isn't bitter toward the Blazers.
'It's not my decision who stays or goes,' he says. 'Nate (McMillan) can play whoever he wants to play. I guess that's Steve and Jack now.'
Telfair will battle returnee Delonte West for the starting job when camp opens in October. As always, there are no guarantees.