Celtics Could Have Long-Term Plans With 22-Year-Old Prospect: Insider

Ime Udoka, Celtics

Getty Ime Udoka, Celtics

There has been a presumption around the Celtics and the NBA since this month’s trade with Denver and San Antonio that sent out Juan Hernangomez that we likely won’t see much of the two players Boston brought back in the deal, 22-year-old Bol Bol and P.J. Dozier. Both are injured and on expiring contracts, and with the Celtics having mainly made the deal as a way to trim $3 million off the payroll, there aren’t many expectations for them.

Except that there is still upside with Bol, and according to Heavy.com insider Steve Bulpett, who covered the Celtics for 35 years, Boston will at least explore that upside—as long as Bol’s contract is not needed as filler between now and the February 10 trade deadline.

Heavy.com's Steve Bulpett talks CelticsVeteran NBA writer Steve Bulpett, who has covered the Celtics since 1985, talks about the trade deadline, the importance of the next 10 days and the recent pay of Marcus Smart.2022-01-30T16:50:18Z

Said Bulpett on a Facebook Live talk on Sunday:

PJ Dozier, the Celtics know a lot about him, he was here on a 2-way before. But a guy like Bol Bol, if he gets back before the season ends, they’ll get to see him in workouts against their regulars at their practice facility. That is an invaluable check on a guy. When you’re making a move on a guy, you never get intel that good. Even the games you watch the guy play, are not probably the same as getting to be up and close with the guy, seeing what his work habits are like day-to-day.

He’s worth the look. He could be one of those pieces that gets moved as part of the side stuff.

Foot Injury Has Plagued Bol’s Career

For now, of course, Bol is out with an injury. He was traded from Denver to the Pistons originally, but Detroit voided the deal when Bol failed his physical because of a foot injury that has lingered since his time at Oregon. It was that injury that cost Bol in the 2019 NBA draft, bumping him down from a projected lottery pick to the second round, where Denver chose him with the 44th pick.

In three NBA seasons, he has played only 53 games, limited by injuries and an inability to crack Denver’s rotation. He has averaged 2.7 points in 6.2 minutes played.

He is a 7-foot-2 shot-blocker who has more athleticism than his famous dad, the late Manute Bol, and averaged 21.0 points and 9.6 rebounds in college, shooting 52.0% on 3-pointers. But he only played nine games because of the foot problem.

Udoka: ‘He Is an Intriguing Young Player’

Bol has been seen in and around the Celtics practice facility, in a walking boot after having surgery two weeks ago. He is expected to be out until mid-to-late March.

Celtics coach Ime Udoka hedged a bit on whether we’d see much of Bol before the end of the year, but he said, “He is an intriguing young player who could possibly join us in the next few months. I’ve seen him a lot at Oregon, before he got hurt there, playing with Payton (Pritchard). Know about him. Intriguing guy who can do a lot of things and he’s a guy who is a restricted free agent so we can retain his rights and get a good look at him over the next few months.”

Ime Udoka Calls Bol Bol an "Intriguing Young Player." | Celtics vs Hornets Pregame InterviewBRIGHTON, MA — Celtics Coach Ime Udoka spoke to the media spoke to the media before Boston;s game vs the Charlotte Hornets tonight. On Tursday night the Celtics acquired Bol Bol, P.J. Dozier in Three-Team Deal where the Celtics got Bol, Dozier from Nuggets; sending Juancho Hernangomez and cash considerations to the San Antonio Spurs.…2022-01-19T23:15:01Z

There was some doubt at the time that Udoka was sincere in that statement. But the Celtics might truly have an eye on keeping Bol around.


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