Celtics move toward severing ties with Telfair

Less than a week after Sebastian Telfair was arrested on a gun possession charge, the Boston Celtics have taken what appears to be a first step toward severing ties with the guard after one season.

"I wanted to let you know that we have removed Sebastian's nameplate from his locker in Waltham. The facts and circumstances of his case have not been determined but he does not have a Celtics locker and we do not anticipate that he will," Celtics managing partner Wyc Grousbeck wrote in an e-mail to The Boston Globe on Tuesday.

When reached by The Globe on Tuesday night, Danny Ainge, the Celtics' executive director of basketball operations, said Telfair had not been waived and the team had not discussed waiving Telfair as an option.

Andy Miller, Telfair's agent, also told The Globe that Telfair has been neither waived nor released.

Telfair was arrested on a gun possession charge after the car in which he was driving was stopped for going 77 mph in Yonkers, N.Y., early Friday. The 21-year-old Brooklyn native was charged with second-degree possession of a handgun and driving with a suspended license following the 3:53 a.m. stop on the Yonkers highway, Westchester County police said.

NBA commissioner David Stern, interviewed during halftime of Tuesday's Nets-Raptors playoff game in Toronto, said "our players do have an obligation to conduct themselves in a way that demonstrates the appropriate respect for the game."

"It's fair to say that if the charges were to be true it wouldn't make me too proud to have someone I know speeding without a license and with a gun in the trunk," Stern said. "But I don't know what the ultimate decision will be, however."

Telfair's attorney, Ed Hayes, told The Associated Press the Celtics are rushing to judgment.

"It always bothers me when you punish a guy so severely before there's been a finding of fact. I think that's wrong whether it happens in Durham (N.C) or in Boston," Hayes said, referring to the Duke lacrosse rape case.

Hayes said Telfair supports 17 relatives on his NBA salary since being drafted out of high school in Brooklyn.

"He's come so far and done so well, I don't think you have to throw him overboard," Hayes said.

According to Westchester police, Telfair was driving his 2006 Range Rover on northbound Bronx River Parkway when it was clocked speeding in a 45-mph zone.
A passenger, Al Eden Fuentes of Queens, was in the car with Telfair when it was stopped on the parkway, about five miles north of Manhattan. Telfair produced a Florida driver's license that had been suspended.

After stopping the Range Rover, the officer found a loaded .45-caliber handgun sticking out from under the front passenger seat, according to the Westchester County spokesman.

Telfair and Fuentes, 28, said they knew nothing about the gun, Westchester County police spokesman Kieran O'Leary said. Police were still investigating whether the gun was registered.

Police charged Telfair with a misdemeanor count of second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and issued summonses charging him with speeding and driving without a license, both violations.

Telfair pleaded not guilty Friday at Yonkers City Court to the charges and bail was set at $7,500. He and Fuentes were due back in court May 17.

"The players on the Celtics have been explicitly warned, this year, to obey the team and league gun prohibition as well as state laws. We take this very seriously and will act accordingly once the facts have been determined," Grousbeck said Friday.

Telfair's brief NBA career has been marred by controversy, starting with his 2005 fine by the Portland Trail Blazers after a loaded gun was found on the team's private jet at Boston's Logan Airport.

The handgun was found in a pillowcase belonging to Telfair as the team plane was being prepared for a flight from Boston to Toronto. Telfair explained to local authorities that the gun belonged to his girlfriend and that he had inadvertently grabbed the wrong bag when leaving for the team's road trip.

In October 2006, Telfair reported a $50,000 chain was snatched off his neck at a Manhattan night club. He was unable to identify the men who stole the chain.

The 6-foot Telfair, a former New York schoolboy hoops legend, averaged 6.1 points and 2.8 assists a game this season for the Celtics.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.