The Boston Celtics are fast approaching their 2021-22 season opener, yet still have an available slot on their roster up for grabs. Following the somewhat surprising decision to waive former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker, the Celtics have 14 players on standard contracts — one below the league maximum. That means that team president Brad Stevens can once again scour the free agency market should he so choose. The good news, roster cuts around the league have replenished the free agency pool with some viable talent.
In the past few days, players such as Marquese Chriss, Avery Bradley and Dante Exum have all become available — many of which have been linked to Boston in one way or another throughout their careers. Yet, the name currently garnering the most buzz in Celtics circles appears to be Harry Giles, who may be the only player in the NBA capable of giving Bradley Beal a run for his money as Jayson Tatum’s designated “BFF.”
Waived by the Los Angeles Clippers on October 16th, the former high school phenom is in search of a new home. Should Celtics Twitter have their way, Giles would soon make Boston, Massachusetts his primary residence. Here’s just a snippet of the outcry currently circulating social media:
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Giles & Tatum Go Way Back
Giles and Tatum’s friendship goes way back. Eventual teammates and roommates during their shared time at Duke, the two got well accustomed to one another long before their Blue Devil days. Rising through the recruiting circuit at the same time, both were highly lauded members of the 2016 class. Yet, at the time it was Giles, not Tatum, who was the belle of the ball — topping ESPN’s Top 100 recruiting database.
“You can ask anybody that was in our [draft] class. Harry was the only player I would’ve said in high school, ‘Yeah, he might be better than me,’” Tatum said on The Bill Simmons podcast in 2018. “I used to call him Chris Webber… he could do everything at 6-foot-11-inches.”
“Harry, he’s like my best friend,” Tatum informed Simmons, a sentiment that Giles echoed years prior while discussing his college recruitment via ZagsBlog. “I mean, that’s my best friend,” Giles said of Tatum.
Giles Still Has Potential Worth Investing In
This wouldn’t be the first time Giles has been floated as a potential add for Boston. Prior to signing with the Clippers this offseason, NBA.com’s Kyle Irving named the Celtics as an “ideal” landing spot for Giles.
Giles is still just 23 years old, yet the versatile forward hasn’t been able to find a permanent landing spot in the NBA. He has shown glimpses of promise as a player who has averaged a double-double per 36 minutes throughout his three-year NBA career, but without a designated position and role, the Duke product has struggled to fit in.
The Celtics are an intriguing fit because of his tight relationship with superstar Jayson Tatum and their need for some forward depth.
Spanning across stints with the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers, Giles has appeared in 142 regular-season games (17 starts). His production is far from gaudy, as he’s averaged just 5.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game over that span. However, his age, size (6-foot-11-inch) and 3-point flashes (34.8% on 23 attempts from beyond the arc in 2020) make him an intriguing bottom of the roster add.
Despite his abbreviated stay in Los Angeles, Giles appears to have made a positive impression on Clippers head coach Ty Lue, who praised the North Carolina native shortly after he was waived, via Clippers Nation:
It was tough because Harry was great. Harry did a lot of great things and, you know, he’s definitely an NBA player, I mean, we know that for sure… Hate to see Harry go because he did some great things for us, like I said, and he’s more advanced than some of our young guys, but it just, it’s tough when you got to come down to the situation when you got to make cuts and, you know, like I said, he’s an NBA player for sure.