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Baker goes to Celts in 5-man deal

The Celtics acquired forward Vin Baker from Seattle on Monday in a five-player trade that sent point guard Kenny Anderson to the SuperSonics.

The Celtics also received guard Shammond Williams and sent center Vitaly Potapenko and guard Joseph Forte to the Sonics.

The deal brings Baker, a nine-year NBA veteran, back to New England. He was born in Connecticut and starred at the University of Hartford, before getting drafted by Milwaukee in 1993.

The Celtics hope it will revitalize the career of the 6-foot-11 Baker, who played in four consecutive All-Star games from 1995-98.

"I believe the marriage between Vin Baker and the Sonics really had problems," Seattle coach Nate McMillan said at a news conference.

"He had lost his confidence out on the floor and just couldn't get it back. We couldn't take another chance on bringing Vin back and having him not want to be here."

The Sonics get Anderson, an 11-year veteran who had one of his better seasons as the Celtics reached the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

Now, Boston must find a starting point guard with only Tony Delk, who backed up Anderson, playing that position. Erick Strickland also saw action there, but he is a free agent.

Potapenko, who spent the past 3{ seasons with the Celtics, averaged 4.6 points last season. He is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery after getting hurt in the last game of the regular season and was expected to be sidelined 6-8 months

Forte played sparingly last season after being drafted with the 21st pick. He scored six points in eight games and spent most of the season on the injured list after an outstanding career at North Carolina.

Williams, 27, also played at North Carolina and was drafted in the second round by Chicago in 1998. The Bulls immediately traded him to Atlanta, where he played two games as a rookie. He spent the past three seasons at Seattle as a backup point guard. He averaged 4.4 points in 50 games last season.

The key for the Celtics was Baker, who could play center in the Eastern Conference, which lacks quality big men. Tony Battie was Boston's starting center last season.

Baker has four years left on a contract that reportedly pays him more than $50-million, a financial burden that makes it less likely the Celtics would re-sign Rodney Rogers, a midseason acquisition who contributed to the team's run to its first East final in 14 years.