Boston CelticsBy Alfred Branch, Jr.

The same year the team pulls off a blockbuster trade for superstar Kevin Garnett, the Boston Celtics appear to have decided to stop selling tickets to brokers, according to one unnamed executive with the team.

The exact circumstances of the unconfirmed decision to stop selling tickets to brokers were not disclosed, because officials from the team did not return messages seeking comment. In recent years, the Celtics solicited brokers for sales and took deposits from them.

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However, in an email from a Celtics group sales executive to an out-of-state broker, too many premium tickets were being lost. The broker, who requested anonymity, had bought tickets from the team for years, including during the team’s recent lean years. . .

“[We] can not sell any tickets to brokers this year, as the inventory was disappearing for all of our premium games, and we are starting to not be able to help our regular groups,” the executive wrote. “I really apologize for this, and I know you stuck with us last year, which we really appreciate, but they gave us [an] ultimatum, it was set in stone.”

According to the broker, the team offered to refund his $100 deposit. Traditionally, brokers and ticket agents buy tickets from teams during losing seasons, and keep buying them even through prolonged slumps, in the hopes that they will not be cut out when the team starts winning and becomes a hot attraction.

The Celtics have fit that description over the past several seasons. In 2006-07, the team was an abysmal 24-58, and 33-49 in 2005-06. In 2004-05, the team was 45-37 and made the playoffs.

Since news of the Garnett trade, interest in the team has jumped, with some sports writers saying the team is now the odds-on favorite to win the Eastern Conference and possibly the NBA Championship.

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