Tristan Thompson explained why the Celtics stood out in free agency

"This is the best decision for me in my career."

Tristan Thompson is eager to contribute with the Celtics. Nick Wass/AP Photo

Tristan Thompson said he had always “heard the rumblings” about the Celtics pursuing him over the years, and it appears he’s thrilled those rumblings have come to fruition.

The newly acquired big man said what attracted him to the Celtics most is how “young and talented” they are, and he believes the signing makes sense for both parties. When president of basketball operations Danny Ainge called and expressed how much the Celtics wanted him – and made it clear they viewed him as someone who could be the “missing piece” – Thompson was intrigued by the idea.

Thompson has known Kemba Walker since high school, and he said Walker also reached out during free agency. He also spoke with Jayson Tatum in recent weeks. With all those factors in play, Thompson knew what he had to do, and he called it “a pretty easy decision.”


“This is the best decision for me in my career,” Thompson said, “to join a team trying to do something special.”

Thompson, at his introductory press conference Thursday morning, told reporters that he hopes he can put the Celtics over the top and help them reach the next level. At 29, Thompson indicated that he still expects a lot out of himself.

He said his “body feels great” and that he still has “a lot of room to grow” as a player.

“I’m still a young pup in this game,” Thompson said.

He compared himself to Marcus Smart, calling Smart “a bulldog” at the guard position and saying he wants to bring that same energy as a big man. Thompson said that the Celtics have gone against him enough to see how he plays, and he plans to bring that same physicality and grit in a Boston uniform.


He said his goal is to always play harder than the big he’s up against, and he expects that enthusiasm will be contagious. Thompson, who most recently averaged a double-double (12.0 points and 10.1 rebounds) in his ninth season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, said he can help against teams like the Miami Heat with dynamic forwards and centers.

He even gave a shoutout to former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins.

“Like big Perk would say, ‘Lay that wood,'” Thompson said.

Thompson also praised Tatum for his evolution as a player and his potential. He said everyone sees his “oozing potential” and knows he has a chance to be in the Most Valuable Player conversation if the keeps progressing the way he is now.


“My advice to him is whatever it is you’re doing, keep doing it,” Thompson said.

Get Boston.com's browser alerts:

Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.

Jump To Comments


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com