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The New York Knicks accelerated their quest for a championship on Wednesday, trading four players -- including their three youngest -- to the Boston Celtics for forward Chris Mills.

New York dealt second-year forwards Walter McCarty and Dontae' Jones, rookie forward John Thomas and veteran guard Scott Brooks to the Celtics. The Knicks also will have the option of choosing from any of Boston's six second-round picks over the next four years.

"We're playing for right now," New York coach Jeff Van Gundy said before Wednesday night's 89-84 exhibition victory against the Celtics at Boston's FleetCenter. " . . . I think people get too concerned with youth. You want players who are good and who are in their prime."

The trade was surprising on both sides -- but especially for the Celtics, who signed the 27-year-old Mills just two months ago to a seven-year, $33.6 million contract after he left Cleveland as a free agent.

"Our dream is a lot further along down the road than the Knicks," Celtics coach Rick Pitino said, adding that more moves will be necessary before the season opener. "The Knicks feel like they're on a championship drive right now."

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