Celtics Reserve Recounts ‘Painful Experience,’ Happy to be in Boston

Daniel Theis

Getty Images Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is fouled by Daniel Theis of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center

Nearly one year removed from Danny Ainge’s deal with the Chicago Bulls in 2021, Daniel Theis was traded again ahead of last week’s NBA trade deadline. The Houston Rockets sent Theis back to the team he spent his first three seasons with — the Boston Celtics.

In a packaged deal that included veteran point guard Dennis Schroder, Bruno Fernando, and Enes Freedom, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens prioritized Theis’ return to Boston. It solidifies a three-player rotation at the center position for head coach Ime Udoka.

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Daniel’s presence should anchor the defense for Boston’s second unit while providing length and shooting on the opposite end of the floor. And he did just that in his return, finishing with five points, nine rebounds, and four blocks in 19 minutes against the Sixers, Tuesday night.


Daniel Theis: ‘Relieved, Happy’ to be Back in Boston

Theis, who addressed the media for the first time since last Thursday’s trade, spoke on the deal, his experience with the Rockets, and how difficult it was for him to accept 2021’s trade to the Bulls.

“I was kind of relieved, happy,” Theis said about being traded back to the Celtics. “I think Houston just didn’t work out for me like I planned. For me, in my mind, (I thought) if I get traded, I want to come back here, and I’m just happy to be back.”

Most didn’t anticipate a reunion between Theis and the Celtics would soon transpire. However, after seeing Horford return from a brief stint with the Sixers and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively, on a four-year, max deal, I guess anything is feasible these days with Stevens at the helm.


Daniel Theis "Relieved" to be Back with the Celtics | Shootaround InterviewPHILADELPHIA, PA — Daniel Theis spoke to the media at Tuesday's shootaround for the first time since being traded back to the Boston Celtics. Theis told reporters Boston was a place he wanted to get back to and Houston just didn't work. QUOTES FROM THEIS: On trade: "I wasn't shocked (Houston traded me). I was…2022-02-15T18:50:11Z

Theis On His ‘Painful Experience’ in Boston & Mentoring

In 2021, Theis waved goodbye to the first and only NBA organization he’d ever played for. He opened up about last year’s move to Chicago.

“(It was) definitely a hard experience, I would say, because, at that point, I would say, I wasn’t expecting it,” Theis said about the Celtics’ 2021 trade with the Chicago Bulls. “I think nobody kind of was, but after a while, I learned — it’s just the business side with money, luxury tax, cap space. It’s all business, most likely. It’s not personal against you.

“So, that’s why I hold no grudge, even when I had a chance of coming back here. Like I said, I’m happy to be back with all those guys.”

NBA players understand the business side, but as Theis settles into his second stint with the Celtics, he’ll never forget his first trade.

“It was a painful experience, especially being in Milwaukee, in the hotel, you get traded after two and a half years because we all had to go,” Theis added. “But, like I said, that’s all behind me now. Not even a year later, I’m back.”

Now, Theis looks forward to continuing his mentor role for starting center Rob Williams and 23-year-old backup Grant Williams. He plans to pick up right where he left off in 2021.

“Felt like I never left,” Theis said. “All the same guys I played with are still here, with the addition of Derrick (White) and some young guys. But, we all knew as soon as Grant and Rob came to the Celtics, they were talented, and Rob can reach his full potential. To see them play hard like this, especially the last six weeks when they changed some defensive stuff, it’s just great basketball.”

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