Brad Stevens Re-Signs Celtics Center, Gives Ime Udoka Options

Getty Images Luke Kornet of the Celtics warms up before the game against the Brooklyn Nets during Game One of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series

Few Boston Celtics fans were expecting third-string center Luke Kornet to survive a logjam that plagued head coach Brad Stevens’ frontcourt during the latter half of the 2020-21 campaign.

After acquiring Kornet, along with center Mo Wagner, as part of a three-team swap with the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards, respectively, for Daniel Theis and Javonte Green, most anticipated Luke would be the odd man out.

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Celtics’ Luke Kornet Impressive Stint in Boston

On the surface, Wagner was expected to offer more upside. Joining Boston from Washington D.C., where Mo averaged 11 points and 4.9 rebounds in 25 games, per, he entered the fold as the well-polished option between the two.

However, Kornet’s debut performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder at TD Garden was the talk-around the hub. Luke’s impact on both ends of the floor during the second half was just the kind of lift the Celtics needed from their second unit.

He finished with eight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, and five rebounds in 13 minutes as the Celtics cruised to a 111-94 win. Kornet followed up his impressive debut by draining another pair of 3-pointers against the New Orleans Hornets a 10-point, 4-rebound gem of a performance.

Once again, Luke maximized his 13 minutes. Two weeks later, Wagner was waived, granting Kornet a spot on the Celtics’ playoff roster. And now, the 26-year-old center will, once again, be fighting for a final spot on Ime Udoka’s 15-man roster.

Luke Kornet, Celtics Agree to Exhibit-10 Contract

According to Forbes’ Chris Grenham, Kornet and the Celtics agreed to an Exhibit-10 deal.

Kornet, alongside Juwan Morgan and Jabari Parker, will be competing for the final spot, as the Celtics roster will need trimming from its current 18 players down to 15.

Brad Stevens On Luke Kornet: ‘We’ve Always Had An Interest’

Stevens had eyes for Kornet long before Luke’s brief stint last season. So, it’s not surprising to see Brad bring him back for a second look.

After Kornet’s impressive debut, Stevens gushed over the 7-footer’s skillset.

“Luke’s a guy that can shoot the ball, we’ve also been really intrigued with Luke for a long time because of his pick-and-roll defense,” Stevens said during Saturday’s postgame press conference. “He’s always in good position. He’s long, he effects shots; he’s a guy we’ve always had an interest in because of those two things. (Moses) Brown was dominating us in the first half, obviously, and then at the start of the second, he had some plays. We felt like we needed to spread him out a little bit with shooting.

“That’s why we went with Luke and I thought he was really good on both ends.”

Celtics training camp for the 2021-22 season opens on Tuesday, September 28.