After being booed in Philadelphia and ignored in Indiana, Evan Turner is enjoying his chance in Boston, according to Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com. He signed with Celtics before the start of training camp and has become a starter and leader for the young team. However, life in the NBA hasn’t been easy for the second overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. He was scorned by Sixers fans when his production didn’t match his lofty draft status, and he played sparingly with the Pacers after a midseason trade last year. When Indiana refused to extend an $8.7MM qualifying offer last summer, the Celtics pounced, giving him a fully guaranteed two-year deal worth $6.7MM. “I didn’t even feel like we were taking a chance,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “I felt Evan was a good player, especially if he was utilized in a certain way.”
There’s more from Boston on a playoff Sunday:
- The Celtics became a playoff-quality team when they acquired Isaiah Thomas from the Suns, MacMullan writes in a separate story. The 5’9″ guard brought creativity and scrappiness and raised the team’s level of play, she contends. “It’s a lot of fun playing with him,” said teammate Marcus Smart. “His ability to get into the paint and doing some of the things he does out there … it’s fun to watch. He makes the game so much easier for the rest of us.” Thomas is signed through the 2017/18 season.
- Gigi Datome, who has become a fan favorite in Boston since coming over in a trade from the Pistons, discussed his upcoming free agency with Brian Robb of CBS Boston. “I hope during my free agency, hopefully the Celtics, hopefully other teams make a call or offer, because it means that this month, I did something good,” Datome said. “It’s really early now and the focus is on the playoffs.”
- Managing partner and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck is happy to be headed to the playoffs, but he told Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald that he plans to keep tinkering with the team this summer. “Every summer we’re looking to do something,” he said. “The summer of ’07 was the biggest I’ve ever seen. Last summer we tried, just like we will next summer.”