Former Celtics power forward Jared Sullinger had a pretty good idea that he would be changing teams when the season ended, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Sullinger signed a one-year, $5.6MM deal with the Raptors last week after Boston rescinded its qualifying offer. The 24-year-old sensed a change was coming after spending four years with the Celtics. “It’s definitely a hard part when you walk into this locker room and you see the same people every day,” he said after Boston was knocked out of the playoffs. “These guys are great. This is one of the best teams I’ve been a part of as far as just the community of the guys. We do a lot of things together. I really can’t speak on the future, but if I leave, it’s going to be tough walking away from great guys like we have in this locker room.”
There’s more news today out of Boston:
- Second-round pick Ben Bentil may have left college too early after slipping to the 51st pick in the draft, Bulpett writes in the same story. The 6’8″ power forward was a star at Providence, averaging 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore, but many observers believed he could have used another year in school. “I think it was a difficult call because he had such a great year,” said Friars coach Ed Cooley. “He had a really good year, and I thought he had an opportunity, but somebody had to like him, you know what I mean? And I’m appreciative of the Celtics giving him an opportunity to show what he can do. Getting a roster spot there is going to be very difficult, but I think, given the opportunity, he’s tough, he can score and he’s really physical. And hopefully some physicality and some scoring from a frontcourt person is something that Danny [Ainge] and Coach [Brad] Stevens can use. He’s all of 6’8 1/2″ flat-foot. He’s got a good wingspan and a great motor — a really, really good motor. I think he can add something to a team, and as he learns what the NBA game is about, I think he can improve.”
- The Celtics may be adding second-round pick Abdel Nader to an already overcrowded roster, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. The Iowa State forward was taken 58th overall and impressed Celtics officials with his play in summer league. A source tells Himmelsbach that the Celtics are exploring several options, including designating Nader as a D-League player for next season and having him spend it with their affiliate in Maine.
- Boston hopes to finalize deals this week with Bentil and Demetrius Jackson, Himmelsbach writes in the same piece. That would give the team 18 players under contract heading into training camp.