Sam Hauser

Celtics Notes: Smart, G. Williams, Roster Spots

Marcus Smart agrees with the theory that a shallow rotation left the Celtics exhausted by the time they reached the NBA Finals, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Smart, who admitted that he still rewatches the Finals to see what he could have done differently, said the team exacerbated the problem by getting off to a slow start and not playing to its potential until January.

“I think depth was one of the big things that hurt us,” he said. “You had me, Jayson (Tatum), Jaylen (Brown) and our starters playing, clawing (up the standings) and we did it to ourselves.”

Smart likes the offseason additions the Celtics made, though Danilo Gallinari may be lost for the season with a torn ACL. Smart heard his name mentioned in Kevin Durant trade rumors this summer, but he’s thankful that he wasn’t moved and that the core of the team has remained intact.

“For someone who’s always talked about in trade talks, I didn’t really pay too much mind to that. Until it actually happens, I don’t believe it,” Smart said. “We can sit here and say this person said this, but we don’t even know who said it. It’s like a telephone game. By the time it gets back to you, you don’t know what changed and who said what. Until it actually happens, I try to pay trade rumors no mind.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • In an interview with Bobby Manning of CLNS Media, Smart revealed that he’s still feeling the effects of injuries from last season’s playoffs. He suffered a sprained right foot in the Eastern semifinals and a sprained right ankle in the conference finals. He also had to miss Game 2 of the Bucks series after aggravating a right thigh injury. “My ankle is feeling better, it’s still healing, so I’m dealing with that,” Smart said. “Just giving it as much rest as I can, but definitely back on the court. I’m definitely back into the action. It feels like yesterday we just started playing, we haven’t really missed a beat, but I’m definitely doing everything I can to be ready for next season and to go deeper. I’m pretty close (to 100%), obviously it’s September, you don’t want to be in June, July, May shape right now so I’m trying not to go too crazy, but I’m really close and I’ve been doing this going into my ninth season.”
  • Grant Williams‘ hopes for a contract extension will be impacted by the three-year, $33MM deal that Maxi Kleber got from the Mavericks, per Brian Robb of MassLive. Robb believes Williams would be better off taking what he can get in an extension rather than dealing with the unpredictability of restricted free agency.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston examines the battle for roster spots at Celtics training camp and views Sam Hauser, Luke KornetMfiondu Kabengele, JD Davison and Jake Layman as having the best shot at making the team.

Celtics Notes: Anthony, Free Agents, Vonleh, Madar

The Celtics aren’t expected to sign free agent Carmelo Anthony as a replacement for the injured Danilo Gallinari, Brian Robb of MassLive writes in a mailbag column. The possibility of Anthony heading to Boston has been rumored over the past week, but multiple league sources tell Robb that Anthony isn’t considered a priority for the team.

The Celtics’ roster isn’t fully set heading into training camp, and a free agent or two could eventually be added. However, Robb hears that Boston wants to give players who are already under contract the first chance to replace Gallinari, including Sam Hauser and some big men who are hoping to make the team.

He suggests that Anthony may become an option later in the season if he’s still available and the Celtics need to add scoring off their bench. Robb also dismisses the prospect of veterans such as Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge being brought into camp.

Anthony remains unsigned roughly two weeks before camps open, even though he was fairly productive for the Lakers last season. The 38-year-old forward averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds in 69 games while shooting 44.1% from the field and 37.5% from three-point range.

There’s more from Boston:

  • Noah Vonleh could be one of the options to replace Gallinari, but he’ll have to show that his defense has improved to earn a roster spot, Robb adds in the same piece. Vonleh agreed to a one-year training camp contract in August after playing overseas last season. Robb states that Vonleh is a below-average shot blocker and concerns about his defense are the main reason he played for seven teams in seven years.
  • Draft-and-stash player Yam Madar has been impressive for Israel during the EuroBasket tournament, Robb notes in a separate story. The 21-year-old point guard was a second-round pick in the 2020 draft and played for KK Partizan last season. He passed on Summer League to concentrate on his commitment to the Israeli team. Robb calls Madar’s future with the Celtics “murky” considering they drafted JD Davison this year.
  • As the rebuilding Jazz continue to shake up their roster, a deal with the Celtics could become an option, Robb adds in another piece. He examines the potential fit in Boston for several Utah players.

Celtics Notes: Gallinari, G. Williams, Hauser, Trade Exceptions

NBA players who sustain ACL tears often take a full calendar year to return to action, but Celtics forward Danilo Gallinari isn’t giving up on playing in 2022/23 after learning of his diagnosis, according to Tim Bontemps and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. A source tells Wojnarowski that Gallinari is determined to try to play before before the end of the season.

“This has been a tough week for me as I have learned the extent of my injury,” Gallinari wrote today in a statement on Twitter. “This game means everything to me and not being able to be on the court with my Celtics teammates hurts. I plan to give everything I can to the Celtics organization and my teammates as we hunt for a title.”

Even if the Celtics make another deep playoff run and play into May or June, Gallinari would need to make it back onto the court approximately eight or nine months after tearing his ACL in order to contribute in the postseason. That’s a tall order for any player, let alone a 34-year-old who tore the same ACL in 2013.

Here’s more out of Boston:

  • Gallinari is expected to undergo surgery on his left knee after the swelling goes down, a league source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. According to Himmelsbach, Grant Williams will likely play an increased role with Gallinari out, while Sam Hauser will have a chance to earn a spot in the regular rotation.
  • Jared Weiss of The Athletic takes a look at what’s next for the Celtics with Gallinari sidelined, noting that Boston still has a pair of trade exceptions worth $6.9MM and $5.9MM that could be useful if the team wants to try to add some reliable veteran depth via trade.
  • In another article for The Athletic, Weiss examines how the Cavaliers’ acquisition of Donovan Mitchell affects the Celtics’ place in the Eastern Conference hierarchy and considers whether Collin Sexton‘s new four-year, $72MM deal will be a reference point when Boston discusses a potential rookie scale extension with Grant Williams.

Eastern Notes: Gallinari, Hauser, Durant, Holden, Pistons

Danilo Gallinari‘s knee injury could open up some playing time for second-year Celtics forward Sam Hauser, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Gallinari suffered a meniscus tear during a World Cup Qualifier while playing for Italy and there’s no timetable for his recovery.

Hauser, who remained with the Celtics by signing a three-year deal in early July, can provide some perimeter shooting as Gallinari mends, though he needs to improve defensively. Boston could also go with more small-ball lineups with Grant Williams or even Jayson Tatum playing the center spot.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Kevin Durant and the Nets have smoothed over their differences for the time being and Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report delves into the question of whether they can continue to maintain a peaceful relationship. It’s likely the team will keep an awkward status quo while hoping to make a deep playoff run, Pincus writes. If things go awry, they can revisit offers for Durant at the trade deadline or next offseason.
  • Speaking of the Nets, former Euroleague standout J.R. Holden is expected to be named GM of their G League affiliate in Long Island, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets. Holden would replace Matt Riccardi, who accepted a front office position with Dallas this summer.
  • While there’s a good vibe coming out of Detroit, it will be very difficult for the Pistons to improve enough just to make the play-in tournament, Keith Langlois of points out. They may be better than they were last season but none of last year’s playoff and play-in tournament participants, save perhaps Charlotte, project to take a big step backward. At the same time, lottery teams New York and Washington have made major roster additions.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Anunoby, Flynn, Sixers, Celtics

Appearing on CNBC on Monday (video link), financial analyst Jonathan Boyar said that there’s a belief Knicks owner James Dolan will explore selling his sports franchises after Madison Square Garden Entertainment finishes building the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas. The new Vegas venue is scheduled to open in 2023.

However, an MSG executive responded to that report with a quick and succinct denial, according to Knicks reporter Tommy Beer (Twitter link).

We have no plans to sell either of the teams,” the executive said of the Knicks and the NHL’s New York Rangers.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic division:

  • OG Anunoby and Malachi Flynn are among the Raptors facing the most pressure in 2022/23, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. As Koreen outlines, if Anunoby can stay healthy and continues to develop on offense, he could become an All-Star caliber player, but he still has to stay on the court and show he deserves that bigger role. Flynn, meanwhile, is entering the third year of his rookie contract and may not be part of Toronto’s future plans if he doesn’t establish himself as a reliable backup this season.
  • Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer examines some lingering offseason questions facing the Sixers, including whether the team will get seriously involved in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes and how the NBA’s investigation into the team’s free agency moves might play out.
  • Jared Weiss of The Athletic takes a look at whether or not there will be regular minutes available in the Celtics‘ rotation for Payton Pritchard and/or Sam Hauser following the team’s offseason acquisition of Malcolm Brogdon. While Weiss believes both players are capable of contributing in Boston, he suggests they’ll have to earn their playing time.

Sam Hauser Re-Signs With Celtics

JULY 9: Hauser’s new contract with the Celtics is now official, per’s transactions log.

JULY 3: Celtics reserve small forward Sam Hauser will return to Boston on a three-year contract, per Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.

Himmelsbach reports that the three-year deal will be worth $6MM. The last season of the contract is non-guaranteed.

Boston possesses Hauser’s Non-Bird rights and can sign him using those. A three-year salary at the league minimum would be worth $5.66MM, so the $6MM figure is either rounded up or is a sliver above the minimum.

While at Virginia, Hauser was honored as an All-ACC First Team pick in 2021. Prior to his tenure with the Cavaliers, he played for Marquette, where he was named an All-Big East Third Teamer.

Boston first added Hauser as an undrafted rookie out of Virginia via a two-way deal during the 2021 offseason. The 6’8″ wing was promoted to the team’s 15-man roster in February.

In 26 regular season contests with Boston during 2021/22, the 24-year-old averaged 2.5 PPG and 1.1 RPG in just 6.1 MPG. Most notably, he connected on 43.2% of his 1.7 three-point looks a night for Boston.

Across 10 games for the Maine Celtics, Bostons’ NBAGL affiliate club, Hauser enjoyed a more robust role, replete with more robust stats, averaging 16.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, and 0.9 SPG in 33.5 MPG. He posted shooting splits of .487/.433/.917.

Last week, the Celtics officially declined their team option on Hauser and tendered him a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent. Reporting at the time indicated a longer-team deal looked likely.

Himmelsbach adds that the Boston front office is optimistic Hauser can become a meaningful rotation contributor at some point in the duration of his new deal.

Celtics Notes: Brogdon, Gallinari, Trade Exception, Hauser

Guard Malcolm Brogdon, whom the Celtics are set to acquire in a trade from Indiana, said there were some indications that he might be headed to Boston.

I had heard that Boston was interested over the past few days, but as a player, you don’t know everything that’s going on,” Brogdon told Jared Weiss of The Athletic on Friday. “You just have to sit tight, let your agent work, let your team work and then let the team that wants you, work as well. The Pacers were really good at facilitating a deal and sending me somewhere I could win. I am very much appreciative of how the Pacers have handled everything.”

The 29-year-old led the Pacers in scoring last season with 19.1 points per game, but he says he’s ready to sacrifice his individual numbers to help the team get over the hump and win a ring.

I’m looking to win a championship, that’s actually it,” Brogdon said. “In the past, I’ve worried about stats and numbers and all that. I’m going to Boston and not worrying about that.”

A source tells Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald (Twitter link) that the Celtics view Brogdon as a sixth man, and intend to keep the starting lineup they used last season featuring Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe hears from a source close to Danilo Gallinari that the forward had better financial offers than the Celtics could provide via the taxpayer mid-level exception, but the opportunity to join a championship contender was too enticing to pass up. Jay King of The Athletic reports similarly, with sources saying Gallinari had at least one rival team offering more money.
  • Over the past couple of weeks the Celtics explored possibilities with using their $17.1MM traded player exception, per Himmelsbach, but nothing came to fruition and the team currently doesn’t plan to use it after acquiring Brogdon, who will make $67.6MM over the next three seasons, including $22.6MM in 2022/23.
  • Boston plans to agree to terms with Sam Hauser on a multiyear deal in the coming days, Himmelsbach adds in a tweet. That outcome was expected after the Celtics made Hauser a restricted free agent a couple of days ago.
  • According to Murphy (Twitter link), the Celtics are scouring the free agent market for a backup big man. They can only offer a veteran’s minimum deal, but I’m sure they’ll find a taker considering Boston was two wins away from a title this past season.

Celtics’ Sam Hauser To Become Restricted Free Agent

The Celtics are declining their $1,563,518 club option on Sam Hauser and instead will make him a restricted free agent, a source tells Keith Smith of Spotrac and CelticsBlog (Twitter link).

While Smith doesn’t outright state that Hauser has been given a qualifying offer, that’s the likely outcome given that he says Hauser will become a RFA. According to Smith, Boston plans to work out a longer contract with Hauser in free agency.

Hauser, 24, signed a two-way contract with the Celtics last August after going undrafted out of Virginia. He was promoted to the 15-man roster in February after trades created multiple roster openings.

The 6’8″ forward played limited minutes in 26 NBA games with Boston, but did convert an impressive amount of his three-point attempts (19-44, 43.2%). Hauser was a G League standout for the team’s affiliate in Maine, putting up 20.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.9 APG and 1.1 SPG on .460/.408/.800 shooting in 13 regular season contest (35 MPG).

Hauser will reportedly be among the young players on Boston’s Summer League roster next month.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Reddish, Raptors’ Draft, Celtics’ Summer Roster, Boucher, Young

The Knicks have checked in with the Pistons regarding the No. 5 pick in the draft, Ian Begley of reports. Cam Reddish‘s name has come up in those conversations but it would take a significant package for Detroit to trade down the lottery. New York owns the No. 11 pick. The Knicks have also reportedly explored trading with the Kings for the No. 4 pick with their eyes on point guard Jaden Ivey.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

Lowry Out For Game 2; Smart Probable, Horford Doubtful

The Heat and Celtics have released their latest injury updates (Twitter links) for Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals matchup on Thursday. Miami’s Kyle Lowry (hamstring) remains out for Game 2, but Boston’s Marcus Smart (right mid-foot sprain) has been upgraded to probable after both players missed Game 1.

In addition to Smart, Al Horford (health and safety protocols) is listed as doubtful for Boston, while little-used backup Sam Hauser (right shoulder) is out.

For Miami, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent are both listed as questionable with hamstring issues, but both Heat players have appeared in all 12 postseason games to this point, so it would be surprising if they’re unavailable on Thursday.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported earlier today that Smart was targeting a Game 2 return and that Horford was “highly unlikely” to be available, and Boston’s official designations align with Haynes’ sources.

Strangely, the Heat have gone 7-0 in the playoffs in Lowry’s absence to this point, and lost both games he played against Philadelphia, when he was clearly still hampered by the hamstring strain. Vincent has filled in admirably for the team’s normal starting point guard, and that’s likely to continue.

Miami leads the series 1-0 after a 118-107 victory on Tuesday, led by 41 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks (plus stellar shooting) from Jimmy Butler. The turning point in the first game was the third quarter, when Miami outscored Boston 39-14, led by Butler’s 17 points.