Danny Ainge confirmed Boston’s interest in Pittsburgh’s Gilbert Brown, adding that the 6’6 wing will visit Boston today. The Celtics cannot officially offer Brown a contract until the NBA agrees on a new Collective Bargaining, but they are certainly proceeding with quite a bit of determination.
“As a matter of fact, Gilbert Brown’s coming in today as well, so we’ll have Gilbert — we’ll be doing the same thing with Gilbert Brown,” said Ainge. “He’ll meet with our strength coaches and go through some things with our coaches.”
Brown’s agent, T.J. Doyle, has said Brown will sign with a German team if the NBA enters a lockout. But Doyle is negotiating to include a buyout clause that would allow Brown to return to the NBA when the potential lockout ends.
After Brown visits, Ainge said the Celtics have no plans (yet) to bring in additional rookies. Though the Celtics cannot officially sign either their draft choices or Brown, they are attempting to proceed as normally as possible.
“We’ll just do what we do every year right after we draft,” Ainge said. “We’ll spend a few days with them and sort of get them acclimated – help them learn their way around the town, around the facilities, especially the immediate area. And have our coaches spend some time with them and teach them things to go home and work on.”
At that point, the rookies could be on their own. In a normal year, Boston’s rookies and most veterans spend at least a fraction of their summer training at Boston’s Waltham facilities. But if the NBA enters a lockout, players will be unable to use their team’s facilities. That means players will need to rely on themselves for the motivation to stay in shape and improve facets of their game (too bad Sheed’s not around—it would have been fun to play the “how many pounds can Sheed gain in one summer?” game).
Especially for rookies who have not yet learned the NBA way, a lockout could provide a serious setback in development. Even if the prospects currently look bleak, here’s hoping the NBA and the Player’s Association can come to terms before that happens.