Celtics notebook

Robinson comes over from the Knicks

By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / February 19, 2010

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LOS ANGELES - The last time Ray Allen saw Eddie House was on the team bus. There wasn’t any big send-off.

For weeks, their names had been thrown around in trade rumors, and the unspoken rule was to continue to leave things unspoken.

Days before the All-Star break, Allen saw Glen Davis in the team hotel in New Orleans. Davis’s name, like several others, also had been mentioned in a possible trade, and Allen had no clue whether it was official or not. There was an awkwardness to the exchange.

“I didn’t say anything to him,’’ Allen said. “But I was like, ‘Is everything all right?’ He said, ‘Yeah, everything’s cool. I’m just about to go see some family.’ ’’

In Davis’s case, it was a false alarm. In House’s case, it was a reality. The Celtics dealt the veteran sharpshooter to New York yesterday along with J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker in exchange for young fireball Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry.

Even when the trade was in its speculative stages, there was a finality about it. Like childhood friends going to different schools, Allen tried talking to House about the positives.

Like how much he’ll love the system that Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni runs or how many more minutes he’ll get in New York or how he’ll have a chance to play for a contract.

But it was like avoiding the elephant in the room.

“I’m sad to see Eddie go,’’ Allen said. “He was a brother of ours. We won a championship together, so we’ll be forever connected. My heart goes out to him because I know he really wanted to be here and help us do what we were trying to set out and do, win a championship this year.’’

The atmosphere in the locker room once the trade deadline passes isn’t terribly different from any other day. But the relief is there.

“As a player, you feel a little more comfortable knowing you’re here for the rest of the season,’’ said Davis. “You’re not getting traded to another team, you’ve just got to keep playing, staying focused on what we have to do, staying focused on the main goal.’’

Said Allen, “We were saying how it’s a lot of guys in grocery carts this past month, because a couple of us have been shopped left and right.’’

That morning at breakfast, just to gauge the tension, Doc Rivers played a small joke. He called a few players up one by one, as if bearing bad news. When they got there, he told them he just wanted to say, ‘Hi.’ ’’

“All the guys who had been mentioned in trades, I thought they would get nervous,’’ Rivers said. “It was a good joke.’’

Graceful exit
Giddens started hearing the rumors Wednesday, then as rumor started turning into reality, he began to cope with the idea that he’d be leaving the team that took him with the last pick in the 2008 draft.

“I knew it was going to be probably bittersweet either way,’’ said Giddens, by phone from Boston. “Just being in the opportunity and the situation to get playing time - our roster was pretty much already set out here in Boston - but I really was just playing it by ear. You can’t really have too much emotions because it’s a business. You’ve just got to be prepared for anything and just control what you can control.’’

Giddens, who had a shamrock tattooed on his neck, and Walker saw little time at the NBA level, spending several stints in the D-League because the Celtics rotation was so difficult to crack.

“The tattoo’s always going to be there, I’ll never change it,’’ Giddens said. “I’m so grateful for Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers and the Celtics and the opportunity they’ve given me, introducing me really to the league and having the confidence to draft me, and I just appreciate that so much. They were the first team to give me a chance to follow my dream of playing in the NBA, and now I know that it’s a business.

Giddens had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee two weeks ago and said he is three to four weeks from returning to the court.

“I’ve been really antsy because I’ve been working hard the year and a half, being up here and I just wanted an opportunity to try to get some playing time,’’ he said. “Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten the chance that I wanted here in Boston, but hopefully it will happen with the Knicks or whoever decides to give me that chance.’’

Pressure is on
When you think of Robinson, dunk contests, 3-pointers, and spontaneous scoring binges all come to mind, but defense doesn’t exactly jump out at you. But both Rivers and Ainge pointed to Robinson’s potential for defensive ball pressure. “He knows that’s one of the main reason we wanted him,’’ Rivers said. “He gives us defense. He pressures the ball. We can use lineups with Rondo and Nate at times against certain teams and the ball pressure alone would be phenomenal.’’ . . . On Cleveland’s move to bring in Antawn Jamison from Washington, Rivers said, ‘I thought it was a great move. When you can get a better player and improve your team, you get it. Whether it fits or not. If you can get a player like a Jamison, you go get it, and Cleveland did it.’’ The Cavs could make out again, with the possibility of getting back one of the players they shipped to Washington, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who could return to Cleveland after being bought out and sitting out 30 days.

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