Celtics Sign Former Jazz Forward & Ex-Pacer ‘Baby Shaq’ to Contracts: Report

Celtics sign Kelan Martin and Malik Fitts

Getty Former Indiana Pacers forward Kelan Martin.

No, it wasn’t any big-named buyout candidates. No, it wasn’t a reunion with the ever-loved Isaiah Thomas. However, on Tuesday, February 23, the Boston Celtics added a pair of players to the mix. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Boston is signing forwards Kelan Martin and Malik Fitts to 10-day contracts.

The C’s previously inked Luke Kornet and Sam Hauser to rest-of-season deals to help fill the plethora of roster vacancies created at the trade deadline. Including guard Brodric Thomas — who is on a two-way deal — Boston currently has 15 players under contract.


What the Celtics are Getting

Neither Martin nor Fitts are much of a household name. Yet, they do each boast their own respective NBA resume. Martin, who measures in at 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, has appeared in a total of 93 regular-season games over his three-year NBA career. After playing the 2018-19 campaign with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Martin has spent the past two seasons as a member of the Indiana Pacers. In 2021-22, he’s averaged 6.2 points and 2.0 rebounds over 16.4 minutes per game.

Martin, a product of Butler University, has an obvious connection to the Celtics organization. As highlighted by Boston.com’s Tom Westerholm, “[Martin’s] college recruitment began with Celtics GM] Brad Stevens, who spoke to Martin about Butler shortly before he departed for the Celtics in 2013,” via The Indy Star. As a senior for the Bulldogs, Martin averaged 21.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, earning First-Team All-Big East honors along the way.

Back in the day, while playing for the Louisville Legends summer teams in middle school, Martin was anointed “Baby Shaq” by Celtics champion Rajon Rondo, per PeoplePill.com.

Fitts, 24, is a former undrafted player out of Saint Mary’s, by way of the University of South Florida. He spent time with the Los Angeles Clippers in 2020-21 and more recently with the Utah Jazz this season. In total he’s appeared in just 10 NBA games, averaging 1.3 rebounds and sub 1.0 points per appearance.


Jayson Tatum Talks Kevin Garnett, Celtics Legends

Over All-Star weekend, Jayson Tatum peeled the curtains back on his affinity for former Celtics champion Kevin Garnett and the NBA legend’s pending jersey retirement.

“KG was my favorite Celtic of all time,” Tatum said, via Boston.com. “And I don’t play like him, I don’t act like him, but you can appreciate people that are different than you. I think his swag and his attitude, what he brought to the game I was always a fan of. He was always my favorite Celtic. So I’m looking forward to it. I’m happy for him — obviously he deserves it, what he brought to the Celtics.”

During the All-Star festivities, Tatum was able to snap a picture alongside Garnett and a handful of other Celtics all-timers, a scenario that Tatum felt privileged — and even a bit intimidated — to be a part of.

“I kind of felt like I didn’t even belong in that picture with all that they’ve accomplished and what they mean to the game, and especially to the Celtics,” Tatum proclaimed. “That was my first time meeting Parish, and I know the other guys pretty well, but being in that picture with them was special. That was something I will frame, and a moment I’ll always remember.”

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