Celtics Severing Ties With Telfair

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By HOWARD ULMAN
The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 24, 2007; 4:40 PM

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics are severing ties with guard Sebastian Telfair days after he was arrested in the New York area and charged with carrying a loaded gun in his car.

Team managing partner Wyc Grousbeck said Telfair, the 13th pick in the 2004 draft and coming off a disappointing first season with the Celtics, would not be back with the team.

Telfair pleaded not guilty to a charge of felony second-degree possession of a weapon, and was released Friday on $7,500 bail.

"The facts and circumstances of his case have not been determined, but he does not have a Celtics locker and we do not anticipate that he will," Grousbeck said in an e-mail Tuesday. He did not say how the team would handle the remaining season on Telfair's contract.

Telfair's attorney, Ed Hayes, told The Associated Press the Celtics are rushing to judgment.

"It always bothers me when you punish a guy so severely before there's been a finding of fact. I think that's wrong whether it happens in Durham (N.C) or in Boston," Hayes said, referring to the Duke lacrosse rape case.

Hayes said Telfair supports 17 relatives on his NBA salary since being drafted out of high school in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"He's come so far and done so well, I don't think you have to throw him overboard," Hayes said.

The 21-year-old guard was arrested early Friday in Yonkers, N.Y. Police said he was speeding and found a loaded handgun under a seat in his SUV. Telfair did not have a valid license, and police said he and his passenger told them they knew nothing of the gun.

Grousbeck said players had been explicitly warned to obey the team and league gun prohibition, as well as state laws.

Hayes said the gun was registered to Telfair's girlfriend, who he said was Telfair's common law wife, and that Telfair was borrowing the SUV she normally uses.

While with Portland in February 2006, Telfair was questioned after a handgun registered to his girlfriend was found in his pillowcase aboard the team's plane at Hanscom Field in Bedford, outside of Boston. The Trail Blazers later fined Telfair and suspended him for two days.

Last October, police questioned Telfair about the shooting of rapper Fabolous after a $50,000 necklace was stolen from Telfair at the same club the night Fabolous was shot. Telfair said he wasn't there at the time of the shooting.

The Celtics acquired Telfair from Portland last June 28 on the day of the NBA draft. As part of the five-player deal, Portland received Randy Foye of Villanova, whom the Celtics had taken with the No. 7 pick.

Boston hoped Telfair would become its regular point guard, but he struggled and started just 30 of the 78 games he played. He averaged 20.2 minutes, 6.1 points and 2.8 assists per game.


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© 2007 The Associated Press

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