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The Celtics do not have the opportunity to make any selections this year's NBA Draft. However, Celtics executive Danny Ainge has been trying to negotiate with some of the Draft's lottery teams in an attempt to snag some pretty intriguing prospects.

Some team needs include a backup small forward and a backup shooting guard (there's no way we can check these tasks off without acquiring someone via trade), a big man, and a veteran. We have one spot open to pick up a free agent, preferably a big man with experience. Chris Andersen and Brandon Bass are some possibilities.

The Celtics are also hoping to re-sign Glen Davis after his exceptional play in the playoffs while replacing the injured Kevin Garnett. They will have to compete with some teams willing to give Davis the big bucks in order for him to come play for them. He'll attract a few big contracts from the lesser teams who have money available.

With Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe returning, we should be better than last year's team without even making any moves. However, Powe's injury is much more severe than Garnett's, who recently had surgery to repair his knee. Powe could miss the first month or two of the season because of that, but should be ready to come back healthy and rested for the remainder of the season. Hopefully he won't take a long time to get back into a groove.

As the Draft aproaches, Danny Ainge, Wyc Grousbeck, and other important members of Boston's front office have to look at this "to-do list," and decide whether or not they want to move some players to get a lottery pick.

Ray Allen is most certainly on the block because of his expiring contract. Apparently young studs such as Bill Walker, Kendrick Perkins, and Rajon Rondo are also on the block. But, despite all the hype, I doubt that any of those three will be shipped out.

Can the Celtics work magic this year? Here are some potential deals that could go down before, during, and after the Draft.

Celtics trade Ray Allen for the Minnesota Timberwolves' first round pick (6th): The Celtics have been targeting Tyreke Evans for quite some time now after word got out that Danny Ainge was interested in the Memphis guard. He has some excellent ball-handling ability, but like most young guards that we deal with, a developing jumpshot.

If the deal went down, we wouldn't have Ray Allen to mentor the All-American, so he'd have to work hard with some other Celtics veterans to enrich his game with a decent jumper.

He has the athleticism, quickness, and strength to become a great defender, but as of right now, defense isn't his strong point. Not at all. The defensive segment of his game is apparently one of his weakest spots, and might not fit in well with the C's style of play if he can't become a hard-worker on the defensive side of the floor.

Boston trades Bill Walker, Gabe Pruitt, and cash for the Charlotte Bobcats' first round pick (12th), then immediately trade 12th pick and Kendrick Perkins to Memphis Grizzlies' first round pick (2nd): This one is the least likely to happen, but still one of the more thought-provoking scenarios. We have the choice of grabbing monstrous center Hasheem Thabeet, skillful guard Ricky Rubio, or wily guard James Harden.

Thabeet's specialty is shot-blocking. He is 7-2, 267 pound colossus from the University of Connecticut. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow African star Dikembe Mutombo, who was one of best shot-blockers the NBA has ever seen. We need a solid defender down low, as well as a guy who can play a good amount of minutes, two things Thabeet is capable of doing. Another interesting thing about Thabeet is his budding offensive game. He could be huge if he is able to score for us this year.

Ricky Rubio was originally projected to be the number two pick in the Draft, but ended up falling to the Sacramento Kings at number four. His NBA comparisons include All-Star guard Steve Nash and Toronto guard Jose Calderon. One thing that worries most people is his European play. He has never played basketball in America. Most Europeans promoted prior to the Draft end up becoming busts.

James Harden is an intelligent, clever guard coming out of Arizona. NBADraft.net is reporting that Harden has an enormous amount of intangibles, and is also an exceptional passer. Harden is compared to All-Stars Brandon Roy and Manu Ginobili. Both are tough players with great basketball IQ's, something the C's are in need for if they hope to win next season.

Celtics trade J.R. Giddens and Brian Scalabrine for the Philadelphia 76ers' first round pick (17th): The Celtics are looking for some new blood to come in and possibly back up Paul Pierce. They'd be more comfortable if they had other options besides Bill Walker, who although has a lot of potential, may not have the explosiveness he had in college due to an ACL injury.

Who could they pick? Arizona's Chase Budinger, who's been talked about during Draft season for a couple of years now. He's a 6-7, 205 pound small forward, with the ability to hit the jump shot. He also has a lot of athleticism which will help considering Pierce will see a bit of a decline in minutes, asking more out of Budinger.

We'd also dump some cash if Scal left, and we wouldn't have to worry about developing a guy like Giddens, who doesn't seem to have any future right now (well, at least from what I can see). It would give us another roster spot to work when looking at free agents too.


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