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Celtics notebook

Barry is generating interest

Brent Barry is expected to seriously consider the Celtics. Brent Barry is expected to seriously consider the Celtics. (FILE/Eric Gay/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Email|Print| Text size + By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / February 23, 2008

PHOENIX - The Celtics and several other teams are in the Brent Barry sweepstakes.

The Sonics waived the 13-year veteran combo-guard Thursday after acquiring him the same day in a trade from the Spurs. The 6-foot-7-inch, 210-pounder will become an unrestricted free agent at 10 a.m. EST on Tuesday assuming he clears waivers, and is expected to get interest from Boston, San Antonio, Phoenix, Denver, Houston, Golden State, and the Lakers.

The Spurs, however, would have to wait 30 days before they are eligible re-sign Barry. Boston is expected to inquire about Barry.

ESPN analyst and ex-NBA player Jon Barry, Brent's brother, believes his sibling will give the Celtics serious consideration.

"It would certainly be a team that piques his interest," Jon Barry said in a telephone interview. "They are certainly one of the teams to beat in the East and the NBA. He wants to win and he is going to feel out who gives him the best chance to win."

Jon Barry said Brent is in San Antonio and is expected to meet with the Rockets soon. A calf injury, however, is expected to keep Brent Barry sidelined for about another 10 days, his brother said. Brent averaged 7.3 points and 1.8 assists in 29 games with San Antonio this season. He also shot 43 percent from 3-point range and 95 percent from the free throw line. The two-time NBA champion has played in 68 playoff games.

Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge has said he is interested in acquiring "the right veteran point guard."

The Celtics are also expected to inquire about guard Flip Murray, waived by Detroit yesterday, and center Jamal Magloire, waived by New Jersey. Both will be free agents on Tuesday at 6 p.m. EST if they clear waivers.

"We'll just evaluate who comes off waivers and see where they fit in with us," Ainge said. "But I don't feel we have to do anything. I like our team. At the same time, we've saved two roster spots for players that could help us this time of the year. We'll continue to evaluate those players."

The Celtics have also been rumored to have interest in veteran Clippers guard Sam Cassell. The 38-year-old has said his agent, David Falk, has contacted the Clippers about a potential buyout and that he would be interested in the Celtics. Cassell must be waived by March 1 to be eligible to play in the postseason for another team.

Not hot on Garnett

The Suns were rumored to be one of the teams trying to acquire then-Minnesota star forward Kevin Garnett last offseason. Garnett and Suns guard Steve Nash are friends and talked about playing together. But in the end, the Celtics acquired the 11-time All-Star in a six-player trade.

When asked if he had serious interest in Phoenix, Garnett said: "At first. I had a couple conversations with Steve. I don't think they were aggressive enough or did want to be aggressive enough. Steve and I remain friends."

On whether the Suns were ever close to obtaining Garnett, Suns general manager Steve Kerr said: "It was never close. We had some discussions with Minnesota. But it was never really a possibility."

Scalabrine still out

Brian Scalabrine missed last night's game against the Suns, his third straight, with a strained right groin. Coach Doc Rivers said Scalabrine is expected to miss the final two games of the five-game West road trip. Scalabrine, who is averaging 1.9 points and 1.5 rebounds, originally suffered the injury against New York Feb. 13.

"I'm going to keep preparing as if I am going to play the next game," Scalabrine said. "I'm not getting the progress I want. I've just got to keep working."

Scalabrine didn't think his layoff would affect his ability to get minutes over the likes of reserve forwards Leon Powe and Glen Davis.

"You can't compare what I do with what those guys do," Scalabrine said. "They're different than me. If there is a need for me out there, then Doc's going to use me. If he doesn't, then I don't have a beef with that. We're trying to win a championship here. It's definitely not about me at all. It's about us."

Hill happy for Rivers

Rivers's hopes of having success while coaching Orlando were greatly affected by then-Magic forward Grant Hill constantly being stymied by injuries. Now that Rivers is enjoying success in Boston, the Suns' Hill is extremely happy for him.

"He's a good man, a good coach, a really good person," Hill said. "For him to be in this position now is a reward for all the stuff he has been through just in terms of having a team that has a chance.

"I don't think he's really had that in Boston [previously], but he has that now."

Rivers had the likes of Hill, Tracy McGrady, and Mike Miller on his roster in Orlando. While Rivers's fortunes with the Magic might have been much different had Hill and McGrady been healthier, Hill isn't looking back on what might have happened.

"I don't play that game," Hill said. "You'll drive yourself crazy if you do that.

"I will say this, though, his team [in Boston] is more talented than the potential we had [in Orlando]."

Trade talk

Rivers said Boston had "nothing active" as the trade deadline approached Thursday and the current roster isn't conducive for trades. "I was happy we didn't do much of anything because we are still trying to find each other and know each other with all the moves we made from the summer," Rivers said. He applauded the Cavaliers for acquiring Ben Wallace, Joe Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West. "Great trade," Rivers said. "They only got bigger, more experienced, better shooting, better rebounding." On Chicago acquiring forward Drew Gooden and guard Larry Hughes, Rivers said: "That will really help Chicago, too." . . . The Celtics stayed overnight in Phoenix and will practice here today before flying to Portland . . . Chris Andersen of the Hornets is expected to be reinstated by the NBA after recently completing a two-year ban for substance abuse. A source close to the team said if he is waived, the Celtics might be interested in his services. Andersen, at 6 feet 10 inches, can play center and forward.

Marc J. Spears can be reached at mspears@globe.com

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