‘He’s an intriguing young player’: Here’s what Ime Udoka said about Bol Bol, Juancho Hernangomez trade

Udoka said he hopes Hernangomez will find the Spurs to be a "better situation."

Bol Bol
Denver Nuggets center Bol Bol in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 5. AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Ime Udoka can’t be sure how extensive a look the Celtics will get at Bol Bol this season, but — like everyone else — he’s interested.

Last week, Bol was supposed to be traded to the Pistons before news broke that he would receive surgery on his foot. The injury voided the deal and set the Celtics up to bring in Bol and P.J. Dozier — who will likely miss the rest of the year with a torn ACL — as part of a three-team deal that sent Juancho Hernangomez to the Spurs.

Bol’s injury isn’t quite as severe as Dozier’s: He will miss the next 8-12 weeks, which means he could return toward the end of the season. It should be noted that the focal point of the trade for the Celtics was the salary they saved — ESPN graded the deal a “B+” for Brad Stevens for that reason, and the Athletic’s John Hollinger called it a “nice bit of salary cap sorcery.” Sending out Hernangomez dipped the Celtics under the cap, and they will retain Bird rights for both Bol and Dozier in the offseason.


Still, the Celtics are interested in a look at the 7-foot-2 Bol.

“He’s an intriguing young player, as well as P.J. [Dozier],” Udoka said prior to the Celtics’ game against the Hornets on Wednesday. “They can possibly join us in the last few months, and I’ve seen him quite a bit at Oregon before he got hurt there playing with Payton. Know about him, intriguing guy who can do a lot of things obviously, and he’s a guy that’s a restricted free agent, so we can retain his rights and get a good look at him over the next few months.”

Udoka said Hernangomez — who played in just 18 games this season — was in a tough spot with the Celtics through little fault of his own.

“We’ve had conversations with him and some of the other guys who haven’t been playing as much,” Udoka said. “Talked to them throughout the year about staying ready and to your point, I love his approach, the work he continued to put in and him being professional in cheering on the guys like you said. …

“Like I said about Payton, [it was] nothing that he didn’t do. It was more so what Grant did early on shooting the ball and some of the defensive things. And at times, we’ve just gone with small lineups with Romeo, some of those guys. Hopefully, for him, it’s a better situation where he’ll have a better opportunity.”


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