WEDNESDAY, 8:12am: The deal is official, the Australian team announced.
8:50pm: Thornton has indeed agreed to a one-year pact with the Sydney Kings of Australia’s National Basketball League, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe relays. “I think it’s good for him to get an opportunity to play and just continue to progress wherever he chooses to play, whether it was in Australia or the D-League or anyplace he was going to get a chance to play,” Boston executive Danny Ainge said. “We’ve certainly seen flashes from him this summer.”
TUESDAY, 10:43am: Celtics draftee Marcus Thornton is set to sign in Australia, a source told Sportando’s Enea Trapani. Thornton, this year’s 45th overall pick out of William & Mary, is not to be confused with the former Celtics shooting guard by the same name who’s reportedly agreed to sign with the Rockets. It’s not entirely clear which Australian team is landing this Thornton, who’s a combo guard.
Regardless, the news isn’t entirely surprising, as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said soon after the draft that Thornton would most likely end up either overseas or in the D-League this season. The Celtics have a roster crunch, since after the Monday signing of No. 33 overall pick Jordan Mickey, they’re poised to have 16 fully guaranteed salaries for the season ahead, assuming they sign first-round picks Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter. Boston’s roster seems in flux, so that dynamic is subject to change, but adding Thornton as a fourth rookie on the team would nonetheless present a challenge for coach Brad Stevens.
Thornton seemed like a reach at No. 45, as Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress ranked him as only the 83rd-best prospect in the draft, and Chad Ford of ESPN.com had him 95th. He poured in 20.0 points in 36.7 minutes per game with 40.2% three-point shooting this past season as a senior competing in the Colonial Athletic Association, a far cry from NBA-level competition. Thornton put up 5.1 PPG in 11.0 MPG and was just 2 for 10 on three-pointers in eight summer league appearances this month.
No. 49 overall pick Aaron White is also reportedly close to signing overseas. Who’ll have a greater impact in the NBA once he gets there, Thornton or White? Leave a comment to let us know.