Varnado happy to be in Brooklyn with Celtics for holidays

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Varnado happy to be in Brooklyn with Celtics for holidays

BROOKLYN, N.Y. Christmas came a little early this year for Jarvis Varnado, the newest member of the Boston Celtics.

The 6-foot-9 rookie was signed by the C's this week after a strong showing with the NBA Development League's Sioux Falls Skyforce.

"Playing in the NBA someday is what you always dream of," Varnado told CSNNE.com moments before stepping on to the floor for the first time as a member of the Boston Celtics. "I'm really happy right now."

Varnado described his arrival in Boston as being a whirlwind of a courtship that came together in a matter of hours.

"I came in for a workout on Sunday, and I thought it went pretty good," he said. "I talked to a couple of people and they said they (Celtics) were thinking about signing me and I later got the phone call from my agent to confirm it."

The addition of Varnado took on an even greater importance after the C's learned that a thumb injury to Chris Wilcox would sideline him for about a month. Couple that with Darko Milicic being waived to be with his ailing mother, and the need for another big was obvious.

Varnado's goal is to do whatever he can to not just play well, but play well enough that the C's will want to keep him around for the rest of the season.

"I know my role; just do what I do best; rebound and block shots and bring that energy to the floor," Varnado said.

In 10 games with the Skyforce, Varnado averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and a league-best 3.9 blocked shots per game.

A three-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year at Mississippi State, he finished his collegiate career as the NCAA's all-time leader in blocked shots.

However, Varnado has had trouble sticking with teams in part because he has yet to show that he can bring more to the game than blocking shots and defending.

But considering what the C's need, Varnado's strengths fit in well with what the Celtics need more of out of their current roster.

"I just feel blessed for this opportunity," said Varnado who was drafted by Miami in the second round of the 2010 draft but whose rights were released prior to the start of this season. "It's been a long journey to get here. The only thing I have to do is all I can do, to stick."

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

Grousbeck: Celtics want Thomas longterm, but would draft a point guard

The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise. 

Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans. 

“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.” 

The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.

“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.” 

Grousbeck: C's two stars away, so giving up everything for one 'didn't make sense'

Grousbeck: C's two stars away, so giving up everything for one 'didn't make sense'

Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck joined Felger and Mazz Friday, defending Danny Ainge’s inactively at Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Grousbeck’s thinking was that the team is two major pieces away from being a  championship-caliber club, and that giving up assets without filling those spots completely might have been harmful.

“I think it takes some strength and courage not to do anything when everybody’s howling to do something,” Grousbeck said. 

The Celtics were rumored to have had talks with the Bulls about Jimmy Butler and the Pacers about Paul George. Neither player ended up being traded. 

“We’re very comfortable with what happened,” Grousbeck said. “We offered a lot for a couple of guys, and we offered all that we were going to offer and it just wasn’t going to happen. Those guys weren’t going to be traded and they weren’t. It’s not problem. 

“We figure we’re probably two guys away from being a really, really good team; probably two significant guys away, and if we put all the chips in yesterday on one guy, we’re getting rid of draft pick -- or picks -- and we’re getting rid of free agency this summer, so it’s sort of like one step forward, two steps back. It just didn’t make sense.”