The Boston Celtics acquired guard Ray Allen from the Seattle Supersonics on Thursday night for Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and the rights to the 2007 NBA Draft's No. 5 overall pick -- Georgetown forward Jeff Green. Boston also gets the rights to the Sonics' 35th pick -- LSU's Glen Davis.
The blockbuster trade was first reported by ESPN.com's Andy Katz.
"You're always listening when you come into a situation like this. You don't wake up one day and look to move a player like a Ray Allen," said new Sonics' general manager Sam Presti. "Someone has to come get them and Boston did that here."
Allen will take his offensive prowess, pure shot and seven All-Star appearances to Boston and join with Paul Pierce. The move should quiet Pierce's comments, voiced several times, about being dissatisfied with the youth movement that could keep Boston from contending during his career.
"To make the decision to move a player -- and a person -- like Ray Allen was tremendously difficult. Boston really pursued this.
-- Sonics GM Sam Presti
But for all his talent scoring the ball, Allen was a defensive
liability. Since his arrival on June 7 as the youngest GM in the NBA, Presti has constantly reiterated his desire to build a foundation based on defense.
"To make the decision to move a player -- and a person -- like
Ray Allen was tremendously difficult," Presti said. "Boston really pursued this. What started as a smaller conversation became fulfilled. Their pursuit was impeccable."
Seattle took another forward, Purdue's Carl Landry, with the
first pick of the second round. The Sonics will also get a future
second-round pick from Boston in the Allen trade.
In Allen's place comes Kevin Durant, the Texas star and The Associated Press college player of the year. As expected, Durant fell to the
Sonics after Portland took Ohio State center Greg Oden first overall.
When the trade was announced on ESPN minutes before the Sonics chose Durant, almost everyone in the crowd of about 2,000
season-ticket holders and invitees at a draft party at Seattle Center booed, hissed and pointed their thumbs down. Many were wearing gold Allen jerseys with his No. 34.
Those same fans cheered moments later as Durant's selection was announced and green and gold streamers flew.
"I want to personally compliment Ray Allen; Ray Allen the
person and Ray Allen the outstanding, professional player," said
team chairman Clay Bennett. "We appreciate the career of Ray Allen
in this market. And we wish him the very best."
Durant will take on Allen's role as the face of the franchise.
He'll also need to take on some of Allen's scoring punch.
Allen averaged a career-high 26.4 points last season, despite
being saddled by ankle problems that limited him to 55 games. He
underwent surgery on both his ankles in early April and a few weeks
ago said his recovery is on schedule.
Durant is ready for the challenge. The 18-year-old was
celebrating in New York on Thursday night, happy to finally know
which Northwest location he would play in.
"Now, I can start shopping for a home," he said.
Presti indicated that Allen's departure may increase the Sonics'
pursuit of Rashard Lewis, who becomes a free agent on July 1.
Should Lewis re-sign with Seattle, the Sonics could have five
players that play essentially the same position.
Presti sees this glut as a benefit, not a hindrance. He wants
players who can play a variety of positions and give a commitment
"What we see in these players is tremendous versatility,"
Presti said. "We see guys that are skilled with the ball and have
a great size-to-skill ratio."
Green was an early entrant to the draft, after being the Big
East player of the year as a junior at Georgetown. Green averaged
14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in helping the Hoyas reach the NCAA
The 6-foot-9, 235-pound Green is likely to be a power forward in the NBA but did not work out for the Sonics before the draft.
Szczerbiak has had ankle problems in recent seasons, and was
likely included in the deal to help offset the approximately $51
million remaining on Allen's salary. Szczerbiak is scheduled to
make $25 million over the next two seasons.
Szczerbiak played just 32 games last season before undergoing
ankle surgery, and averaged 15 points. West improved in his second
season, averaging 12.2 points and starting 47 games for the
Landry was a first-time all-Big Ten selection after averaging
18.9 points and 7.3 rebounds in his senior season at Purdue.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.