Report: Celtics interested in Euro star Brad Wanamaker
We're two days away from the 2018 NBA Draft and rumors from around the league are at an all-time high on the cusp of one of the biggest free agency periods in recent history. The Boston Celtics have continually been linked to players such as LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. We're inching closer and closer to seeing if those whispers will come to fruition.
Boston is stacked at the wing position with developing stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Head coach Brad Stevens also hinted that he expects Gordon Hayward to be fully recovered and playing pickup by August. Barring a trade, the Celtics have Marcus Morris and Semi Ojeleye under contract as well for 2018-19.
However, after a game seven loss to Cleveland Cavaliers where the guard play was abysmal. GM Danny Ainge and Stevens may be looking to bolster their backcourt. Kyrie Irving is still recovering from a minor knee surgery, Marcus Smart is up for restricted free-agency, and Terry Rozier is outplaying his contract.
Those predicaments could cause a slight problem for Boston. It seems unlikely that the team will be able to afford Rozier's extension in 2019 while Smart could receive an offer that the Celtics simply can't match. Though seeing either of these players move on would likely have a considerable impact on the fanbase, Ainge must prepare for the future.
After bringing in Daniel Theis from Germany last year, Ainge is interested in another Euro Star.
Have the Celtics found their next international player?
The Celtics have been linked to Fenerbahce guard Brad Wanamaker. The 6-foot-4, 28-year-old Wanamaker has played overseas since 2011, when he went undrafted out of Pittsburgh.
During that time, he's carved out a nice role for himself in Europe. Wanamaker has averaged 13.5 points, 4.2 assists, and 1.4 steals over his career in the EuroLeague. He's also another guy that would Boston stretch the floor. Wanamaker averages 43.4% from the field, 36.3% from deep, and 84.4% from the line over his career. He can provide depth at shooting guard while also spending some time at the point.
David Pick, a basketball reporter from Europe who also was correct on Theis' signing last summer, was the first to report the news on Boston's interest in Wanamaker.
I'm told the Boston Celtics are giving strong considering to bring over Euro star Brad Wanamaker - MVP of the Turkish finals with Fenerbahce. Other NBA teams with interest: ORL, BRK, PHI and MIA.
Wanamaker currently has a $3.8 million contract offer on the table from FC Barcelona. It'll be interesting to see if he'll be willing to settle for a smaller contract from an NBA team. Boston could potentially sign him for the MLE but they might want to save that for Aron Baynes.
The Celtics have had success with multiple international players since Brad Stevens was hired as head coach in 2014. In his second season, we saw guys like Gigi Datome and Vitor Faverani provide sporadic sparks after coming to the NBA from Europe. Jonas Jerebko, who played in Europe from 2005-09, was used as a rotational big by Stevens. Jerebko continued to be a solid contributor off the bench over the next two seasons and provided some big moments in the 2016 playoff series against Atlanta Hawks. Boston entered the 2016 NBA Draft with a whopping eight picks, including three in the First-Round.
The Swedish Larry Bird had some big moments in Boston
Danny Ainge and the Celtics would go on to spend four of the eight picks on international players. Guerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic were stashed overseas. Abdel Nader signed a G-League (then D-League) contract. And Rade Zagorac's rights were traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.
When Boston decided to bring Yabusele and Zizic, who was later traded to Cleveland, over for summer league, they truly began to embrace their international flair.
The Celtics signed Theis and Baynes before trading for Kyrie Irving, who was born in Australia. They signed Nader to an NBA deal while also signing Shane Larkin, who had been playing overseas. That technically brought Boston to seven international players after including Al Horford.
Irving, Horford, Baynes, and Theis were crucial to the Celtics success this past season. Larkin had his moments as well. Yabu and Nader each contributed off the bench and their roles could grow as they continue to develop.
Boston's elite scouting department will continue to search under every rock on this planet to find quality players. Will Wanamaker be next?