Boston Celtics

Celtics training camp taking shape

607484.jpg

Celtics training camp taking shape

WALTHAM The Boston Celtics' training camp is just about complete with the addition of three big men to the roster. Michael Sweetney, Jamal Sampson and Greg Stiemsma have all been invited to camp which is scheduled to begin Friday afternoon.

For Sweetney, this will be his second training camp with the Celtics. He was with the C's two years ago, but was cut shortly before the season started. The former lottery pick spent two seasons with the New York Knicks before being traded to Chicago, which is where he played for another two seasons.

His size (6-foot-8, 275) is certainly somewhat intriguing to the C's, but the issue with him has always been -- and will continue to be -- his level of conditioning. If he comes into camp in good shape and proves to be productive, he has a very good shot of sticking.

Sampson is just 28 years old, but the former second-round pick definitely qualifies as an NBA journeyman having played five seasons with five different teams. The nephew of former Houston Rockets great Ralph Sampson, Jamal left Cal after one season and has never found his niche in the NBA. In 72 games, he has averaged 2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

Stiemsma is the one camp invitee that few outside of the Celtics scouting department, have ever heard of.

A 6-foot-11 center who played at Wisconsin, the 26-year-old center has never played in the NBA.

However, he has proven to be a better-than-average rebounder in the D-League.

In two seasons with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, he averaged 8.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks while appearing in 46 games.

In addition to the six players the Celtics had under contract heading into this season (Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Avery Bradley and Jermaine O'Neal), Boston also plans on having their rookie draft picks Jajuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore as well as undrafted rookie Gilbert Brown. Training camp will also welcome the return of Marquis Daniels, who has agreed to a one-year deal with the C's. That bring the Celtics' training camp total to 13, with players likely to be added and subtracted between now and the season opener at New York on Christmas Day.

Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

cp-isaiah-thomas-gordon-hayward.jpg

Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

Gordon Hayward wanted to go to Boston to play with Isaiah Thomas.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The Celtics traded Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package for Kyrie Irving. Hayward explained what it was like for him to learn he and Thomas would not get the chance to hit the court together in Celtics' green.

MORE CELTICS:

"My first reaction was to text I.T., and wish him the best," Hayward wrote in a blog post which he published Thursday. "That was a really strange moment because I’d really been looking forward to playing with him. He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him.

"But that is just how the business works. I have spent enough years in the NBA to realize that things can change like that, in an instant. Still, even though we didn’t necessarily get to be teammates, I’m definitely going to be watching him as a fan. In this league, I think we are all rooting for each other in some way or another—just to try to stay healthy, to try to be the best we can be."

Hayward may be genuine about rooting for Thomas -- except perhaps when he faces off against the Cavaliers in the season-opener on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thomas is uncertain to play due to a hip injury. But the two teams are expected to see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals again after the 2017-18 season. This preview will be an opportunity for Thomas and Irving to get their first shot at revenge against their previous team.

The trade wasn't all bad for Hayward, he explained. He was pleased at the prospect of playing with Irving. Hayward cited Irving's abilities in 1-on-1 situations and clutch moments. He appreciated Irving's scoring ability, because Hayward knows the point guard will open up space for Hayward to knock down open shots. Above all, Hayward seemed to value Irving's unique experience.

"And then getting a chance to play with LeBron James, and going to the Finals three straight years—those are experiences that are invaluable and that you really can’t teach," Hayward wrote. "Having that experience of playing in those big moments, dealing with the circus of the media, dealing with expectations, those are all things that I think he can help us with. Because most of us, myself especially, have never been through that."

CSNNE SCHEDULE