Report: Celtics interested in Pitt's Gilbert Brown

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Report: Celtics interested in Pitt's Gilbert Brown

Sixty players heard their name called during Thursday night's NBA Draft. Pittsburgh's Gilbert Brown was not one of them.

That doesn't mean nobody was thinking about the swingman that night, though. In fact, Celtics president Danny Ainge was extremely close to choosing him over E'Twaun Moore in the draft.

But according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ainge's interest in Brown has not dwindled, and the two sides are in talks to sign him to a free-agent deal once a new CBA is in place and teams can resume normal basketball operations.

"He really encouraged me," Brown told Fittipaldo. "He told me I could be the Wesley Matthews of this draft. Of all the teams I worked out for, Danny was the most excited to have me in. He really feels like I can make their team and contribute the first year. He was really confident in my ability. He felt like I stood out in my workout."

Brown, standing at 6-foot-6, 215-pounds, is a fifth-year senior who, prior to his senior season, had his career sidetracked by injuries and an academic suspension that held him out of the first 11 games of the 2009-10 season and the starting lineup for the entire season.

But the last year of his was by far his best, as Brown moved back into the starting lineup and took a leadership role with the team. The inconsistencies of his play from prior seasons were few and far between, and Brown ended up averaging 11.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and shot 41.3 percent from 3-point territory -- all career highs.

That impressive play translated over to NBA workouts, where Brown felt he really played above and beyond many people's expectations.

"Hands down, I was the best player at every workout I had," Brown told Fittipaldo. "The one workout in Phoenix had Jordan Hamilton (selected 26th by the Mavericks) and Klay Thompson (selected 11th by the Warriors). I hit all of my shots, and no one could score on me. It was one of the best displays of my ability. A lot of people only had me as a defender and an athlete coming into the draft, but at these workouts I was able to show that I could do a lot more than what I did at Pitt. I showed I was able to score the basketball, and I was able to show them that I was an even better defender than what I showed in college."

Brown was considered as one of the most effective defenders in college, and displayed a team-first mentality on the offensive end as well. If Ainge can get Brown to buy into the defensive stopper role once held by Tony Allen, then the C's could really end up with a free agent steal.

For more on Brown, visit his Player Biography page on the Pittsburgh Panthers website.

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

Blakely: Celtics made the right choice in not pursuing Cousins

NEW ORLEANS -- There will be a significant faction of Celtics Nation who will see DeMarcus Cousins’ trade to New Orleans as a lost opportunity for the C's, who could have offered a much more enticing trade package than the one the Sacramento Kings accepted.
 
The Kings received nothing even remotely close to a king’s ransom for Cousins, acquiring him in exchange for rookie Buddy Hield, journeyman Langston Galloway and ex-Pelican Tyreke Evans (who has never been the same since his Rookie of the Year season in 2010), along with a protected first-round pick and a future second-round selection.

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While the knee-jerk reaction is to focus on why Boston decided to not pursue a trade for Cousins, more important is what the non-decision means for the moment and going forward.
 
Think about what the Celtics have done in the last three-plus seasons.
 
They went from being a lottery team to one that has the second-best record in the East. They're holding the potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft; at worst, the pick will be in the top four or five. They have three of the most team-friendly contracts (Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder) in the NBA. They have promising prospects overseas as well as in the D-League. And they're led by a coach who has improved his coaching acumen -- and the team’s win total -- every year he's been on the job.
 
And it's all enveloped by a culture with a high level of selflessness, which has created a locker-room environment that has been more about fighting for each other than fighting one another or others off the court.
 
Do you really think Cousins’ talent would have trumped the baggage he'd be bringing to the Celtics if they'd acquired him?
 
For him to have fit in with this team would have required him to make the kind of changes that, frankly, I just don’t see him being capable of making at this point.
 
On more than one occasion, “not fitting in” with the Celtics culture was given to me as the reason why a Cousins-to-Boston trade never gained any traction with the team’s brass. Or coaching staff, for that matter.
 
While there's no denying that he's arguably the best center in the NBA, Cousins is a high-risk, high-reward talent that makes sense to pursue if you're a franchise which has nothing to lose by adding him to the mix. Like, say, New Orleans.
 
The Pelicans are 11th in the Western Conference despite having Anthony Davis, who has been asked to carry the weight of a franchise that has yet to figure out the best combination of talent to surround him with and find success.
 
The addition of Cousins not only provides Davis some major help, but serves as a reminder of just how desperate the Pelicans are.
 
While there are mixed reports on whether the package of assets the Kings agreed to was the best they could have received for Cousins, there was no way they were going to get anything close to comparable talent in exchange for him.
 
And that was solely due to the risk that any team was willing to take on in order to acquire him.
 
At some point, the Celtics need to take advantage of an opportunity to go all-in for a superstar player. But this was not that time, or that player.

Blakely: Pelicans form arguably the best frontcourt with Cousins-Davis

Blakely: Pelicans form arguably the best frontcourt with Cousins-Davis

A. Sherrod Blakely breaks down the DeMarcus Cousins trade to the New Orleans Pelicans