Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens addressed the media in Orlando at the penultimate day of Summer League to talk about free agency and — most importantly — the three-team trade that brought Tyler Zeller and Marcus Thornton to Boston.
For Stevens, the Zeller acquisition was particularly exciting since he once considered Zeller out of his recruiting league at Butler. He said he likes Zeller’s skill set for the team.
“First and foremost, I think he’s a great transition rim-runner,” Stevens said. “I think he can really get out and fly up and down the court. I think that showed itself true a lot at North Carolina and I think a guy with his skill can score on the block but also stretch the defense and has enough handle and savvy to play facing the basket. You can kind of play around him – not too dissimilar from some of other big guys that we have now. He’s just big. He’s 7-foot, 250 pounds and takes really good care of himself and is an invested pro.”
Ainge seemed similarly impressed with the ex-Cavaliers big man.
“I think Tyler was a good get for us,” Ainge said. “We are short on centers, and we like the way he runs the court. He can make shots, complement our guard play. A 7-footer that knows how to play is very good.”
As for Thornton
‘s $8 million expiring deal, both Stevens and Ainge noted that Thornton brings some scoring to a lineup that needed it badly last year.
“Marcus can bring us some scoring,” Ainge said. “He’s probably a bench scorer and can really get hot in stretches — he had a 42-point game last year. He’s a guy that can shoot the ball from the 3-point line and adds shooting and depth to our team.”
There were a few other interesting notes as well. Ainge mentioned that this deal wasn’t the first Boston had tried to work using the TPE, which isn’t a surprise, but it certainly makes you wonder what some of the other deals might have been.
When asked about Bradley’s contract, Ainge also noted that Bradley didn’t technically have one yet. It was a little bizarre — Ainge knew what we know, Ainge knows THAT we know, but he had to pretend that Bradley’s deal wasn’t actually done yet.
“Avery is a big part of our future,” he said. “We have every intention of getting something done with him in the next day or two. Just working out the final details and Avery has always been a big part of us since the day we acquired him. We have every intention of having him back.”
Well, yeah. For eight years, $32 million. The NBA offseason is weird.
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