BOSTON -- Greg Stiemsma is in the midst of a breakout rookie year with the Boston Celtics. Next season, he would like to continue that success in green and white.
Stiemsma will be a restricted free agent this summer with a qualifying offer worth 1.05 million. After traveling through Europe and the NBA Development League for years, the 26-year-old center would like to return next season to the team that gave him his first shot in the NBA.
Oh yeah, absolutely, Stiemsma told CSNNE.com. Next years going to kind of take care of itself, Im hoping, so Im not getting too worried about it yet. But at the same time, with everything that Ive learned from these guys and this organization, Id love to come back.
Stiemsma has gone from benchwarmer to a key member of the Celtics second unit. Following the season-ending injuries and conditions of big men Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) and Chris Wilcox (cardiac), he has become the backup center to Kevin Garnett.
Stiemsma, 6-11, is averaging 1.57 blocks per game, ranked 15th among all players and second among rookies. His 5.39 blocks per 48 minutes is second-most in the NBA.
Throughout the season he has garnered the praise of teammates and coaches for his work ethic and hustle. Stiemsma has averaged 4.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in the last 10 games as the Celtics prepare for the playoffs.
"I truly hope that (Celtics President of Basketball Operations) Danny (Ainge) rewards him at the end," Kevin Garnett said last month. "If not us, somebody at the end of the year, gives him something long term to where he can build off of, substantial."