While much of the fan and media focus regarding the Boston Celtics‘ efforts to field a contending roster is focused on the next big trade, the team must explore every avenue to adding quality players. That includes delving into the dustier corners of the basketball world in search of hidden gems.
To that end, the Celtics reportedly will or have already held workouts with a pair of EuroLeague veterans recently.
Per a report by Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia over the weekend, big men Nigel Hayes and Zach Auguste were scheduled to work out with Boston this week. Coincidentally, the pair were teammates with the Turkish club Galatasaray SK during the 2018-19 campaign.
Although neither would be considered stars of the European game, both offer intriguing aspects as potential NBA players.
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Hayes Aims for a Second Shot at the Big Time
Fans of Big Ten basketball are sure to recognize Hayes’ name. He was a three-time All-Conference pick (2015-17) in four years with the Wisconsin Badgers. As a sophomore, he played a key role in getting the Badgers to the 2015 NCAA Championship Game, where they narrowly lost to Duke, 68-63.
Hayes played 37 minutes in the game and scored 13 points, hitting 3-of-4 shots from three-point range.
From there, he continued to be an important player for Wisconsin. Following Frank Kaminsky’s departure, he found himself leading the team in scoring as a junior at 15.7 points per game.
Although he went undrafted in 2017 and bounced between L.A. Lakers, Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings and the G-League’s Westchester Knicks as a rookie, he continued to hold intrigue as a 6-foot-8 power forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan.
Since that time, Hayes has bounced around Europe, most recently balling with Lithuanian power Zalgiris Kaunas. Last season, he averaged 9.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest across all competitions. He also connected on 44.2% of his three-point attempts.
While he could have difficulty getting the same shots off at the NBA level, the 26-year-old’s potential as a floor-spacer, craftiness in the post and incredible length definitely warrant a look from the Cs.
Time Running Out for Auguste?
As for Auguste, the 28-year-old has a ready-made fanbase in the Boston area. The 6-foot-10 center was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and starred at nearby Marlborough High School. It was there that he became a four-star recruit and earned a spot with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in 2011.
Like Hayes, Auguste went on to become an NCAA Tournament hero. As a junior, he led the Irish to the Elite Eight where they would face an undefeated Kentucky Wildcats team. Although Auguste dropped 20 points and nine boards on Karl-Anthony Towns in the game, Kentucky went on to win, 68-66.
After going undrafted in 2016, Auguste headed overseas. He has since spent time in Turkey and Greece, signing on for a second stint with Panathinaikos of the GBL in 2020. Last season, he averaged 4.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in just 10.7 minutes per contest across all competitions.
Although he lacks Hayes’ length, he does have a solid profile for a four-man at 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds with a 6-foot-10 wingspan.
However, both players would have a difficult time landing with the Cs given the excess of big men currently on the roster. Two-way and Exhibit 10 deals may be possibilities, though.