As far as Celtics president Danny Ainge is concerned, Leandro Barbosa has not requested a trade and what’s more, he was in the starting lineup for Friday’s matchup with the Bulls.
According to a Brazilian publication, Barbosa said he wanted to be traded or released to seek a team that would give him more playing time. Ainge said Friday that Barbosa has not sought a trade and considers the issue closed.
Barbosa made his second start as a Celtic, replacing Avery Bradley, who is out with bruised ribs. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after Wednesday’s 90-78 loss to the Hornets that he should have inserted Barbosa earlier for an offensive spark.
Barbosa’s playing time has been sporadic since joining the Celtics, but he has shown the ability to score in bunches. He scored 5 points in the Celtics’ 100-99 overtime loss Friday in 15 foul-plagued minutes.
“You’d have to ask him about the quote, I have no idea,” Ainge said. “But all I know is he’s never come to me and asked to be traded, so I have to take him at his word. He’s never asked me for a trade.
“I don’t pay attention to anything at all. He’s never brought anything to my attention. This is some media report. I don’t pay attention to that stuff. I wouldn’t have even known about it had it not been brought to my attention.”
Ainge told the Globe on Sunday he believes the team has great depth and players such as Barbosa and Jason Collins “barely play.”
“No question, we’re excited about it, we brought him in, he knew how our team was structured and the depth we’ve had,” Ainge said. “We think that his opportunities are going to come. I know he’s started at least once this year already and he’ll get more opportunities as the year goes on to play significant minutes, not just a small role.”
Ainge said he doesn’t see the reason to have a conversation with Barbosa about his future.
“I don’t know what he said and I don’t know if there’s even any truth to it,” Ainge said. “Like I said, he’s never said that to me and he’s never brought that to my attention, so I’m going to act like it’s not real, it’s not true.”
Kevin Garnett was named to his 15th All-Star team and makes his return after not being elected last season. Garnett received the third-most votes for Eastern Conference frontcourt players, edging out Miami’s Chris Bosh.
“I’m appreciative, more than honored, I thank all the fans who voted and I look forward to it,” Garnett said. “At this point in my career, nothing’s promised. More importantly, you try to enjoy it. I have to always remember that it’s a plus, people around me are all excited but at this stage of my career, I’m fortunate to even be out here giving something for a team.”
Garnett said he understands that NBA analysts may not agree with his selection. Chicago’s Joakim Noah and New York’s Tyson Chandler were also in the running.
“I think you have other guys like [Noah and Chandler] and everybody else who are up and coming, and younger guys that could easily be in my position and have the opportunity to start, but that wasn’t the case here,” he said. “It is a popularity contest, let’s be honest.”
Garnett said he will have no issues playing with other starters LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and particularly Carmelo Anthony, who attempted to confront Garnett after the two trash-talked during the Celtics’ Jan. 6 win over the Knicks.
“I embrace everybody, East, West, coaches, coaching staff, that’s what you’re there for, you’re there to mingle,” he said. “Be amongst your peers and the people that you play against.”
Rajon Rondo will be making his first All-Star start, finishing behind Wade with the second-most votes for Eastern Conference guards.
“It’s a great feeling, especially to be named this way, amongst your fans, so many votes, it’s humbling, it’s a grateful experience,” he said.
It was another arduous battle between Garnett and Noah as both were assessed technical fouls after getting tangled with 2:20 left in regulation when Noah grabbed Garnett before attempting a layup. Noah, who is no fan favorite in Boston, continued to chide Garnett.
“He’s a [heck] of a competitor,” Noah said. “He’s always on some [stuff] — just trying to throw elbows, cheap shots, just trying to get you off your game. When we lose, I feel like he crosses the line. But since we’ve been beating their [tails], I’m cool with it.”
Bradley banged up
Rivers revealed that Bradley has been battling a bruised rib and was scratched Friday. Bradley had his least productive game Wednesday, scoring 4 points with no rebounds in 22 minutes. Backup center Chris Wilcox dressed Friday and was able to play after missing the past month with a sprained right wrist, but didn’t leave the bench . . . Chicago’s Luol Deng started despite tweaking his hamstring Wednesday in Toronto. He scored 3 points before exiting after aggravating the hamstring on a third-quarter drive.Gary Washburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter at @gwashNBAGlobe