When the Celtics waived former first-round pick R.J. Hunter on Monday, they lost their compensation for allowing Doc Rivers to join the Clippers, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. While only Josh Richardson might have been a better choice among available players at No. 28 in last year’s draft, Hunter is still part of an uneven draft record that Boston has produced with its recent wealth of picks. While the Celtics have brought in Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Jaylen Brown, they have misfired with Hunter, Fab Melo, and the trade for JaJuan Johnson. They are also haunted by the 2008 selection of J.R. Giddens ahead of DeAndre Jordan, Mario Chalmers and Goran Dragic.
“Right now, the hardest thing is I like R.J. and we’ve invested time in him,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “I see Jaylen and Terry [Rozier] and Jordan Mickey and Demetrius Jackson and Abdel Nader, who had a terrific summer with us, and the two kids over in Europe that are playing fantastic right now. The draft is the draft, as we all know. You have some good selections and some that don’t fit and don’t work for you. So I’m not disappointed in that regard at all. I’m glad that we have another [Nets] pick next year and we’ll keep taking our swings and trying to find the right guys.”
There’s more today out of Boston:
- ABC/ESPN analyst Mark Jackson believes the Celtics will benefit greatly from the free agent signing of Al Horford, Washburn adds in the same piece. “They did a great job of adding Horford, a big that brought to the table what they did not have — a defensive, tough, hard-nosed leader — and you can see that … already,” Jackson said.
- Celtics coach Brad Stevens was happy to see Hunter find a new team so quickly, relays Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. Hunter signed with the Bulls on Wednesday, shortly after clearing waivers. “I think he’s a really good player,” Stevens said. “His ability to shoot the ball and his ability to pass the ball are two great strengths … I don’t know how he fits from a rotation standpoint; that would be a [Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg] question. But he’s certainly a good player that can help any team.”
- The Celtics are taking their time with decisions about extensions for Smart, Rozier and James Young, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The deadline is Monday to pick up the fourth-year guaranteed options for Smart and Young and the third-year option for Rozier. Bulpett believes the team is certain to pick up the $4,438,020 for Smart and the $1,988,520 for Rozier. However, the team is still examining trade options for Young, who would be owed $2,803,507 for 2017/18, and may save that decision until the last minute.