Celtics already know what Fenerbahce Ulker's McCalebb can do

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Celtics already know what Fenerbahce Ulker's McCalebb can do

ISTANBUL The name Bo McCalebb probably doesn't ring a bell to the average Boston Celtics fan.

He's one of the top players in Europe and the Celtics will see plenty of him Friday night when the C's take on McCalebb's team, Fenerbahce Ulker.

He's certainly a familiar face to the C's who pursued him earlier this summer.

Ultimately the 6-foot-3 point guard signed a three-year deal with Fenerbahce that's worth 2 million per season. When you throw in all the financial perks that come with playing overseas, bringing him in would have been too costly for the Celtics.

Boston will see first-hand on Friday night what they missed out on. But there's at least one Celtics player who is quite familiar with McCalebb's game.

That would be Brandon Bass, who like McCalebb, is a Louisiana native. The two played against each when Bass was at LSU and McCalebb was at the University of New Orleans.

"Nobody could stay in front of him," Bass said. "He's got game. You have to respect him."

In college, McCalebb was indeed a big-time scorer.

In 2007, he was the Sun Belt Conference player of the year and had career averages of 20.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and three assists per game.

Although he put up big numbers offensively, he was known primarily as a slasher who didn't look to score much from the perimeter.

He played in Italy last season for Montepaschi Siena and averaged 17.3 points per game which included him shooting 52.6 percent on 3-pointers.

With his size, speed and a steadily improving jumper, it's not all that surprising that the Celtics were among the NBA teams to express interest in him.

In addition to Boston, the San Antonio Spurs appeared to come as close as any NBA team did to signing him, but San Antonio could not reach a buyout agreement with Montepaschi Siena. Shortly after that fell through, he inked a multi-year deal with Fenerbahce.

"He probably should be on the other side of the waters now," Bass said.

Celtics rookie Dionte Christmas played in Turkey last season, and is well-versed on McCalebb's game.

"He should have been in the NBA, but he's making a lot of money over here," Christmas told CSNNE.com. "These guys are one of the top 3 teams in Europe, so this will be a great test for us."

And for Rajon Rondo who has not been shy about proclaiming himself as the best point guard in the NBA.

"He's the best American point guard over here the last couple of years," Christmas said of McCalebb. "And Rondo, in my opinion, I think is the best point guard in the NBA. His stats show it; his winning percentage shows it. This matchup on Friday is going to be a great test for both guys."

Watch live stream online of the Celtics Green vs White scrimmage

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Watch live stream online of the Celtics Green vs White scrimmage

Tonight at 7:00pm on CSN and CSNNE.com, the Boston Celtics play their annual Green vs White scrimmage at TD Garden. 

Our broadcast team of Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn, Abby Chin, Brian Scalabrine, Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely bring you all the action from the scrimmage as we get our first look at the 2016 Boston Celtics.

Also, Wyc Grousbeck and Danny Ainge are scheduled to join us during the broadcast.

Thomas excited for reunion with Green

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Thomas excited for reunion with Green

WALTHAM, Mass. -- When the phone rang this summer, Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas had to do a double-take when he saw the name on the caller ID.

It was Gerald Green, his ex-teammate in Phoenix.

Although they only shared a locker room for 45 games in Phoenix, the two became quick friends.

On the court they developed instant chemistry while coming off the Suns bench. And that bond spilled off the court as Green would later spend time with Thomas in the Seattle-Tacoma, Wash. area in the summer months.

They were cool with each other, cool enough to where Thomas knew it wasn’t in Green’s nature to pick up the phone and call just to say hi.

“Gerald doesn’t call anybody,” Thomas said. “When he called I knew something was up.”

Green said Boston, the team that drafted him in 2006 straight out of high school, was interested in bringing him back for a second stint with the club.

“I tried to put my two cents in and he got here,” Thomas said.

There were several factors that led Green back to Boston, with a chance to reunite with Thomas being high on that list.

Green, already in Phoenix at the time the Suns signed Thomas in 2014, was impressed with the way the 5-9 guard carried himself.

“He was a genuine guy, came in really humble,” Green said. “I saw the talent was there. I knew he had the potential to be one of the best point guards in this league.”

Thomas certainly made a case for such lofty praise with how he performed last season, good enough to earn his first all-star selection.

What really stuck out to Green was that Thomas’ mentality and approach to the game was almost a carbon copy of his own.

“When we stepped on the court we had the same mentality,” Green said. “By any means necessary, get a bucket and play harder than the next team; just try and push the first team, make the first team better every day.”

Thomas was coming off the bench, showing lots of potential and promise that he could carry a heavier load if given an opportunity to do so.

He averaged 15.2 points, 3.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 25.7 minutes off the Suns bench in 46 games. Even more significant was that when Thomas did play for the Suns, they were 26-20.

In the games without him, they were just 13-23.

Green was admittedly disappointed they traded away Thomas, believing that season would have had a very different outcome had they not sent him to Boston.

And just like Green recognized Thomas’ skills and how much his team could have benefited from keeping him around, Thomas speaks in glowing terms about Green and what his return to Boston means for the team.

“We needed someone like him; a guy that could shoot the ball, a guy that could space the floor; instant scorer whether he starts or comes off the bench,” Thomas said. “Where the he starts or come off the bench. He’s going to really help us.”