Jared Sullinger‘s struggles with his weight and conditioning were the main reasons the Celtics allowed the forward to depart as a free agent after rescinding their qualifying offer to him, Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald writes. The big man accepts that he was at fault, according to David Falk, his agent, Murphy notes. “Jared understands that if he had controlled his situation better, his options would have been better,” Falk said. “What happened the last two weeks has been major wake-up call for him. He’s in the gym twice a day. He knows what he has to do. Jared acknowledges that he put himself in this situation, and he has to get himself out of it”
Falk also noted that Sullinger had received interest from a number of teams before he inked a one-year deal with the Raptors, calling Toronto the best fit, Murphy relays. “I’ve always advised my clients not to be a slave to money, and Jared had a deal for twice the money from another team, but it wouldn’t have been as qualitative a situation as going to Toronto,” said Falk. “We turned down an offer of over $10MM. But my feeling is that in this market, when you look at the deals that players like Bismack Biyombo signed, Jared is a $20MM player because of his skill. He was Boston’s best big last year – a regular double-double guy. But first he has to show people. As my dad used to say, [betting on yourself] is the ultimate acid test.”
Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Sullinger wasn’t Toronto’s first choice, as the team was in advanced discussions with Pau Gasol, who signed with the Spurs, and the Raptors were prepared to trade Terrence Ross to clear the necessary cap space to ink the Spaniard, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca relays. Toronto then nearly reached an agreement with the Bulls to acquire Taj Gibson and Tony Snell, but the deal fell through after Dwyane Wade chose Chicago, the scribe adds.
- No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons has performed well in summer league play, but if the talented forward is to reach his full potential, the Sixers will need to learn from past mistakes and surround him with solid outside shooters, Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer opines. The scribe points to how the lack of such players has hampered the development of Nerlens Noel, pointing to the big man’s improvement once Ish Smith was added to the roster this past season.
- Isaiah Thomas‘ deal with the Celtics is an extremely team friendly one given the contracts handed out this summer, a fact that hasn’t escaped the point guard, who says he intends to cash in when he hits free agency in 2018, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com writes. “They better bring out the Brinks truck,” quipped Thomas. “They’re paying everybody else. I gotta get something. I’m trying not to worry about it. It’s out there. I’m just being myself and play and hopefully that takes care of everything else.“