BOSTON The Boston Celtics' longest road trip of the season may begin with key players unavailable, which is similar to their shorter road excursions.
Chris Wilcox, who has come on of late to become a reliable high-energy big man off the bench, did not travel with the team Saturday morning when they departed for Los Angeles.
It is unclear if Wilcox, who did not play on Friday due to a personal matter, will join the team in time for Sunday's game against the Lakers.
His absence deals yet another blow to the Celtics' frontcourt which is already playing without Jermaine O'Neal (wrist).
Without Wilcox, that likely means more playing time for rookies Greg Stiemsma and JaJuan Johnson.
Stiemsma had seven rebounds while playing a career-high 27 minutes in Boston's104-86 win over Portland Friday night.
And Johnson, who played the entire fourth quarter, had two points and three rebounds.
The C's did get a bit of good news.
Mickael Pietrus' sore right knee kept him out of Friday's win, but he did travel with the team to Los Angeles. That means he will most likely be a game-time decision for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the hours leading up to the draft, the Knicks continue to talk to teams -- including the Celtics -- about a trade for Kristaps Porzingis but are seeking a "massive" return, according to multiple reports.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo's The Vertical reports that the Celtics are among several teams so far unwilling to meet the Knicks' price.
Knicks president Phil Jackson is said to covet Kansas forward Josh Jackson in the draft, who many have speculated the Celtics could take with the No. 3 pick. CSN Celtics Insider Sherrod Blakely, on the Toucher and Rich this morning, proposed a potential C's package of tonight's No. 3 pick, next year's Brooklyn pick, Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown as a potential haul for Porzingis.
Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe termed what New York is seeking as "massive" and Marc Stein of ESPN reports the Celtics "remain in pursuit."
Frank Isola of The New York Daily News says it's "the moon and two Brooklyn picks," i.e. the haul Blakely proposed - this year's No. 3 and the 2018 first-round pick from the Nets that the Celtics own from the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett deal, Brown and Crowder. Also, the Celtics taking on the remaining two years (at more than $18 million per) of Joakim Noah's contract from the Knicks could factor into the deal.
Second-year Patriots receiver Malcolm Mitchell already had a children's book published before he was drafted last year. Now he has a three-book deal with children's book publisher Scholastic.
The three books will include a newly-illustrated edition of his self-published first crack at the children's book genre, "The Magician Hat," according to the Associated Press. That will come out in May of next year and be followed up by two more original works.
Mitchell has been a children's literacy advocate since before joining the Patriots. That he joined a reading club -- made up mostly of women twice his age or more -- was quickly seized upon by multiple media outlets in the build-up to last year's draft as one of the feel-good stories in that year's class of prospects.
Mitchell has founded a youth literacy initiative called Read With Malcolm, and he's the Patriots "Summer Reading Ambassador," encouraging young students to read as much as possible during the summer months. He hosted reading rallies across New England that began in Roxbury, Mass. back in March and finished up last week at The Hall at Patriot Place.