Dionte Christmas knew things were going well in Summer League in Orlando when the Celtics invited him to stick with the team in Las Vegas a week and a half back, instead of joining the Rockets squad. His consistent play continued in Sin City while being surrounded by an impressive supporting cast, Christmas stood out regardless with his stellar effort in all parts of his game.
With a crowded roster making making an open shot tough to come by for the hybrid guard in Beantown, things opened for the former Temple star Thursday, as E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson were dealt to Houston, giving Danny Ainge the flexibility to bring aboard Boston’s best performer of the past two weeks of summer ball.
Boston and Christmas came to terms over the weekend, and the guard made it official today, confirming to CelticsHub he had signed a partially guaranteed deal with the C’s. The undrafted Christmas, who has played the last three seasons overseas after being cut by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2008 before training camp has earned a soft spot in the hearts of many Celtics fans already with his gritty play while pursuing his life-long dream of getting to the NBA.
Christmas turned down hundreds of thousands of dollars, along with extra security overseas to join the C’s, and while he is likely a lock (barring injury) to make the team out of training camp, his contract is structured much like Greg Stiemsma’s was last season, with his deal becoming fully guaranteed at a certain date in the middle of the season.
The 6’5” scorer, who can play anywhere from the one to the three on the floor, averaged 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists in Vegas, having hit 47.9 percent from the field as well as 45 percent from 3-point range. These numbers followed up Christmas posting 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.0 assists averages in Orlando over five games of action.
We will have plenty more from Christmas in the next day or two, as CelticsHub took part in an exclusive one-on-one interview with Dionte on his journey to the C’s, how the E’Twaun Moore trade affected his thoughts on Boston and much more. I’ll forewarn all Celtics fans right now however. Don’t be surprised at all if this guy is a part of this team’s rotation right out of the gate next season with Avery Bradley sidelined. We all know how tough Doc Rivers is on rookies, but the 25-year-old would-be rookie has had plenty of time to refine his game overseas and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him act as the second guard on the bench right away if he plays the way he did the past two weeks.