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On The Block
Ian Thomsen
February 06, 2006
A crucial date to determine the Sonics' future in Seattle looms, and the team's owner says he's prepared for the worst
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February 06, 2006

On The Block

A crucial date to determine the Sonics' future in Seattle looms, and the team's owner says he's prepared for the worst

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Not Ideal for Either Team

Now that the Ron Artest trade has finally gone down, is more player movement likely to follow? After failing to land Artest, the Timberwolves began talking seriously with the Celtics; the teams then made a seven-player deal last Thursday that sent small forward Wally Szczerbiak to Boston for swingman Ricky Davis and 7-foot Mark Blount. But Boston G.M. Danny Ainge doesn't anticipate a large flurry of movement before the Feb. 23 deadline. "There's a lot of talk, but there's nothing happening," says Ainge. "Look at how long it took to do the Artest deal."

Ainge's trade with Minnesota G.M. Kevin McHale, his former Celtics teammate, was a swap of unwanted parts. "It's no secret that I've been rumored to be traded for a long time," says Szczerbiak, who was unable to live up to a contract that has three years and $36 million remaining. (He also reportedly cashed in on bonuses and a trade kicker that yielded another $750,000 per season.) Though McHale was ripped for the trade in Minnesota, the temperamental Blount will give Kevin Garnett much-needed help as a scorer and interior defender. McHale may also be able to move the point guard he acquired, Marcus Banks, to the Sonics for combo guard Flip Murray, further balancing the Wolves' attack.

By condensing their roster, the Celtics can now give more minutes to their younger players, point guard Delonte West and big men Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins. While Ainge is committed to rebuilding around Paul Pierce, he doesn't pretend that Szczerbiak's jump-shooting style is an ideal fit. "But the other way wasn't perfect either," Ainge says. "Until we find that perfect mix, I do believe that Paul draws so much attention in the paint that we need better shooting on the perimeter."

? More inside news from Ian Thomsen at SI.com/NBA.

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