Isaiah Thomas said he was asked by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to name free agents he’d like to play with, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reports. The exchange has made Thomas, who has been vocal about his desire for starting in the past, feel like he is part of the Celtics’ future, Himmelsbach adds. “Danny said if there’s any free agent out there I’m interested in, to let him know,” Thomas said. “That has me excited. For him to ask for my input means a lot, because it means I’m definitely, right now, a part of the future, and they also value your word and what you think about the game of basketball. It means a lot, and it’s a mutual respect we have. Now, hopefully, we can get a few guys.”
Thomas did not name any player specifically, but he said a big man is a top priority. “A defensive-minded player,” he told Himmelsbach. “It’d be nice to get one of those in the draft. A lot of the big men out there could definitely help us out. But I know Danny is always up to something.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy said the team will hire a full-time shooting coach by July, David Mayo of MLive.com writes. The Pistons ranked 27th out of 30 teams last season in field-goal percentage (43.2%), and also ranked 29th in free-throw percentage at 70.3%, as Mayo points out.
- The Jazz hosted Andrew Harrison, Terry Rozier, Vince Hunter, J.P. Tokoto, Treveon Graham and Aaron White in a pre-draft workout, and Walt Perrin, vice president of player personnel, said he wasn’t too surprised with the results, Melissa Yack writes in a piece for the Deseret News. “I thought Terry played — I know Terry can shoot it, but I thought he shot it pretty well today,” Perrin said. “Other than that — Andrew maybe could have shot it a little better, but surprises no.”
- Stanley Johnson believes he can be an impactful and versatile defender in the league, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders writes. “In today’s day and age, it’s about defensive versatility. How many people you can guard and how well you can do it,” Johnson said. “I can guard fours. I can guard Draymond Green. I can guard Kawhi Leonard. I can guard Mike Conley — I can stay with him at least,” he continued. “You guard people in stints, I can definitely stint the minutes for sure.” In 38 games with Arizona, the small forward averaged 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, and played well defensively.
- The top four teams in the draft — the Wolves, Lakers, Sixers and Knicks — reached out to Emmanuel Mudiay‘s agents, but the guard who played last season in the Chinese Basketball Association likely won’t work out for them until early June, tweets SNY.tv’s Adam Zagoria, who cites a source.
- Boston College guard Olivier Hanlan worked out for the Spurs, and is hopeful he will be selected in the first round of the draft, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe writes.