New Celtics center Zeller has a whirlwind week

New Celtics center Zeller has a whirlwind week
July 10, 2014, 6:30 pm
Share This Post
(USA Today Sports Images)

ORLANDO, Fla. — It has been a bit of a whirlwind the past couple of days for Tyler Zeller, with a future full of promise and excitement.

Oh sure, he's jacked about playing for Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics. But he's even more excited about his pending nuptials on Saturday.

"I'm happy for him," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "It's kind of a crazy time to get traded three days before he goes on his honeymoon."

Zeller was part of the three-team trade involving Boston, Cleveland and Brooklyn which sent the former Cav big man to Boston along with Brooklyn's Marcus Thornton.

While Thornton's role with the Celtics is a bit uncertain, there's little doubt that the Celtics have every intention on keeping the 7-foot center around.

Zeller isn't being looked upon to be the much-needed rim protector the Celtics have been seeking, but he does provide Boston with another big man who can not only shoot from the perimeter but also run the floor and finish in transition.

Arguably just as important, Zeller provides Celtics head coach Brad Stevens with a player whose game - and family - is quite familar to him.

While at Butler, Stevens recruited both of Tyler's brothers, Luke and Cody Zeller - neither of which ever played for Stevens.

So it's a bit of irony that the one Zeller brother Stevens didn't recruit - Tyler - is the one that Stevens finally gets a chance to coach.

Zeller's agent Sam Goldfeder believes having had an already established relationship with Stevens can only help the adjustment for Zeller who spent his first two NBA seasons in Cleveland.

"Coach Stevens is someone the Zeller family thought a great deal about as a man," Goldfeder told "Forget about basketball. Everyone knows he's a great basketball coach. But they really liked him as a person. They share similar values off the court. Obviously Brad expects excellence on the court, discipline, hard work and that's what Tyler is all about."

It's no secret that the Cavs were focused on creating enough cap space to be in position to offer native son LeBron James a max contract.

But Zeller became expendable even if James were not a legitimate possibility.

After a solid rookie season 7.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, Zeller saw his playing time - and stats - take a noticeable dip to 5.7 points and four rebounds per game.

"That's just behind us now," Goldfeder said. "It was a difficult year for him on the court. He played great when he played. Why he didn't play, that's not for him or me to decide. That's the coach's prerogative. We're just glad that's all behind us now."

Indeed, the 24-year-old big man is looking for a fresh start, both on and off the court.