The Boston Celtics find themselves in a period of turmoil right now, with injury to multiple key players and the news about Ime Udoka’s impending suspension breaking in the early hours of September 22.
However, Boston’s biggest issue still resides in their lack of center depth – something which has been exacerbated by Robert Williams needing a second surgery on his knee. Of course, if the fans or the media had their way, a contract would have already been extended to a veteran big man such as Dwight Howard or LaMarcus Aldridge.
Still, it would seem Stevens is taking a more pragmatic approach to the issue, as he bids to bide his time and see how the team’s training camp prospects perform against a higher level of competition in the coming weeks – only then will he make a decision.
“We’re going back and forth on it. We don’t want to overreact to Rob’s [injury] just because it’s a short-term thing here. We feel good about some of the guys who have been in the gym for the last few weeks. We’ve had a bunch of guys in, a lot of the guys that have been added to the roster recently…We’re obviously super aware [of our need] but we want to make sure we add the right people. We can do that through guys who can make our team; we can do that through guys that are available as free agents and we can do that through trades down the road,” Stevens told Washburn during the interview.
As such, we shouldn’t be expecting the Celtics to make any significant additions to their roster until after training camp ends – however, one can only hope that some of the veteran talents currently available remain without a team should Stevens decide he needs to bring in an additional body.
Celtics Add Luka Samanic to Training Camp Roster
On September 21, CLNS Media’s Bobby Manning reported that Boston had extended an offer to 2019 first-round draft pick Luka Samanic, making him another addition to their training camp roster – with the expectation that he will likely provide competition to Noah Vonleh for a big man spot on the roster.
Samanic is a six-foot-ten power forward that is also capable of playing at the center position and has shown potential for being a legitimate stretch-big in the NBA, capable of hitting threes off the catch or driving close-outs for strong finishes around the bucket.
The Zagreb native spent two seasons with the San Antonio Spurs between 2019 and 2021 where he participated in 36 games averaging 3.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game while shooting 29.4% from deep and 56.5% from inside the perimeter. Last season, Samanic was with the Westchester Knicks in the NBA G-League and impressed with averages of 27.9 points 10.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game on 54.9% field goal shooting, per Manning.
Ime Udoka Facing Suspension
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Celtics’ head coach is facing a suspension, although the duration of said suspension is still unclear. According to reports, Udoka ‘violated organizational guidelines’ and the team is deciding on the best way to proceed.
“Udoka is facing possible disciplinary action – including a significant suspension – for an unspecified violation of organizational guidelines. Discussions are ongoing within the Celtics on a final determination,” Wojnarowski tweeted on September 21.
We will have to wait and see what the Celtics decide in terms of the length of the suspension, and who will deputize for Udoka while he serves his ban – but one thing’s for sure, the Celtics’ off-season continues to go from bad to worse, despite it starting off so promisingly.