The Celtics made a couple of additions Wednesday night, drafting forward Aaron Nesmith and guard Payton Pritchard in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft. A potential departure still looms for the Celtics, however.
Forward Gordon Hayward will have until 5 p.m. on Thursday to either pick up his $34.2 million option for next season or become a free agent. Even if Hayward does pick up his option, he may still be traded by the Celtics this offseason.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, who also coached Hayward in college at Butler for two years, told reporters Wednesday night that he’d “never speculate on anyone who has an option and gets to make that decision.”
“As [players] get closer to these deadlines and big decisions, I say ‘if you need me, let me know,'” Stevens said. “He knows us, he knows me, he knows this whole situation and he weighs that against his other options. That’s part of a player option.”
“So, that’s not too dissimilar to what we’ve had in the past. So, we’ll see again how it plays out. You spend so much time together that, it’s appropriate from my point of view to make yourself available if need be.”
“[Gordon] knows us, he knows me, he knows this whole situation and he weighs that against his other options”
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 19, 2020
For the Celtics’ two first-round picks, Stevens likes what they may bring to the team as rookies.
“We’ll see how the team fills out, but what we wanted to do tonight was pick guys who we thought could compete for time and compete to add value to winning,” Stevens said. “We got two guys who are gym rats, put the ball in the basket, and will be excited to get here and work.”
The Celtics also drafted Israelian point guard Yam Madar in the second round after Stevens spoke to reporters Wednesday night.
Stevens also didn’t give a clear answer on whether Kemba Walker would be ready to start the season.
“Kemba is doing well,” Stevens said. “He feels good, he’s been lifting and working out. We’ll talk about all that stuff as we get closer.”
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