Bill Russell, the legendary center whose dominant defensive play helped Boston win 11 NBA titles in 13 years, will work with the team's current crop of big men, Celtics Coach Rick Pitino announced yesterday.

Russell, who coached the Celtics to an NBA title, will join the team Monday and Tuesday at their training camp and periodically will return to Boston to continue to help develop the players, Pitino said.

* CBA SALE: Continental Basketball Association owners approved the sale of the nine-team league to former Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas. Thomas agreed in August to buy a majority stake in the NBA's official developmental league for about $10 million.

* MOVES: A starter most of his 14-year NBA career and a five-time all-star, Chris Mullin will come off the bench this season as the Pacers go with youth. The front-runner to replace him appears to be Jalen Rose. . . . The Raptors signed F Kevin Willis to a three-year contract extension believed to worth $6.1 million. The Raptors also gave GM Glen Grunwald a four-year contract extension that will run through the 2003-04 season. . . . The 76ers signed free agent G-F Rodrick Rhodes, three days after he was waived by the Magic.