From Steve Bulpett in Wednesday’s Boston Herald.

The Celtics were very close last night to a trade involving Walter McCarty, according to multiple sources.

     The Celts were said to be awaiting a final word from Phoenix, which will return a second-round pick to Boston if the transaction is completed.

     Director of basketball operations Danny Ainge had no comment on the matter, but McCarty (above) confirmed he had heard from the club that the deal had gone well beyond the preliminary stage.

     It’s a move Waltah would welcome after more than seven years in Green. With younger players filtering into the Celtics rotation, McCarty has been getting squeezed for playing time – a difficult situation for a player who turns 31 next week. He’d played just 18 minutes in the three games heading into last night’s meeting with the Bobcats and then didn’t make it off the bench.

   While Gary Payton is starting and playing well, Ainge may be facing a similar situation with his veteran point guard. Payton has been an exemplary soldier but would like to be moved west to be closer to his family. His mother has been diagnosed with cancer and will start chemotherapy soon. Payton would also like a better opportunity to chase a championship.

     Sources say Ainge is looking to see what Payton can bring from other clubs but won’t give him away. It’s possible that a first-round pick would be enough to pry The Glove loose.