Oct 16, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Celtics center Kelly Olynyk (41) goes up for a shot and is fouled by Philadelphia 76ers forward Drew Gordon (30) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Celtics defeated the Sixers 111 to 91. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Kelly Olynyk (41) played through shoulder issues in the final two months of the season. (Bill Streicher-USA Today Sports)

WALTHAM – Kelly Olynyk is pretty psyched that Tom Brady is coming back to the NFL after next week. 

The Celtics center said one of the highlights of his summer of rehab from shoulder surgery was listening and talking to Tom Brady as the Patriots quarterback spent time on Long Island trying to lure Kevin Durant to Boston. 

“Brady’s an unbelievable individual,” Olynyk said during Monday’s media day. “He’s really, really smart. Just to be able to pick his brain for a half-hour, an hour, going down there was awesome, his philosophies, the way he lives his life. How professional he is, the way attacks every single game, every single moment and just kind of year-round, 24/7, it was awesome to see through his eyes, and hear it through his mouth, what he does and what it takes to be great.

“He’s really exemplified that at a lot of different stages so I’m excited to see him get back in the action, too, man.” 

As for his shoulder, the seven-footer said he’s getting better and better but still hasn’t been cleared for contact following surgery on the right shoulder on May 16. 

“Shoulder’s doing well. It’s coming along,” Olynyk said. “It’s been a long haul of rehab but it’s getting stronger and improving every day. Seeing visual improvements now. It’s doing well. It just needs to get a little bit stronger so that muscles can protect it and take a hit.” 

Olynyk re-aggravated the shoulder in Game 1 of the playoffs against the Hawks after suffering the initial injury in the final game before the All-Star break in February against the Clippers. 

“Yeah, I never really got back,” said Olynyk, who was Boston’s best 3-point threat at 41 percent before the injury. “There was always pain and restrictions. I really couldn’t do anything. My shoulder was not functionable and it’s too bad. I wanted to be out there so bad to help the team and help us win but it just wasn’t in the cards.

“It was 5-6 months after the surgery. It’s been four-and-a-half right now so hopefully in the next three or four weeks, we can get out there and make something happen. We’ve just got to make sure it’s strong enough to take a hit. It’s day-to-day, week-to-week, see you how you feel, testing the strength, testing the limits and go from there.”

The additions of Al Horford, Gerald Green and draft pick Jaylen Brown has just heightened Olynyk’s anticipation for the season. That is, of course, if he doesn’t get traded before the season, a rumor that continues to circulate under the surface. 

“Yeah, you want to be out there and helping this team,” Olynyk said. “We have a great group of guys together, a great coaching staff. We have a great locker room so everybody’s coming here to do the same thing. I think we have a real shot of being great this year. I want to be back and helping as soon as I can.

“I felt like I was playing really good basketball and I felt like we were, as a team, playing really good basketball at that time, heading into the All-Star break. It was really unfortunate to go down at that time. Stuff happens, everything happens for a reason. I’m feeling stronger than ever right now so I can wait until this thing gets started.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

2015-16 season 

33 games with Texas A&M: 27.3 minutes, 15.3 points, 42.5% FG, 7.2 rebounds, 0.7 steals

Jones was one of the Aggies’ go-to scorers his senior year. His long frame helped him score baskets at an efficient rate. Jones began his college career at SMU but sat out of the 2013-14 season after transferring to Texas A&M. He became a starter almost immediately after the start of his junior year and put together his best season last year. 

Projected role in 2016-17

Jones will be one of four players without guaranteed contracts at training camp and was the last man added to the 20-man roster. He most likely will spend his season in the D-League.

Biggest strength

Scoring

Jones likes to score in the paint and get through the lane and finish at the rim. At 6-foot-7, he has good size as a wing forward. He likes to look for his own shot and will look to develop his outside touch. Jones shot 32.4 percent from deep his senior year, and he doubled his 3-point attempts from the year before from 2.8 to 6.8 attempts. 

Biggest weakness 

Footwork

Jones is going to have to develop his speed on both ends of the floor. At the collegiate level he was able to blow past his defenders, but if he’s wants to carve out a role in the NBA he’s going to have improve his footwork. He struggled in keeping up on defense, so this definitely isn’t something Jones doesn’t already know. 

Likelihood of making final 15

Very unlikely

Jones will use the opportunity with the Celtics to showcase his talents as best he can before he heads to the D-League. 

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon

Paul Pierce kept it short, sweet and direct. He’s retiring after this season.

Paul Pierce kept it short, sweet and direct. He’s retiring after this season.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce kept it short, sweet and direct. He’s retiring after this season.

The soon-to-be 39-year-old announced on The Players’ Tribune website Monday morning that after this season with the Clippers he will be retiring. He accompanied a story with a tweet reading: “It’s time.”

There was speculation throughout most of the summer about whether Pierce would return for a final season after a noticeable decline in numbers last season, his first with the Clippers. He averaged a career-worst 6.1 points per game over 18.1 minutes in 68 games.

He makes no mention in the story of his time or future with the Celtics.

Doc Rivers, his current boss who also coached him with the Celtics, mentioned earlier this month that Pierce has “got to retire as a Celtic,” but should that come to fruition it will require some patience by Celtics fans.

Pierce grew up in Los Angeles and cited that in his story as well as the hunger and belief the Clippers have that they will win an NBA title.

With NBA training camps set to begin this week, Pierce is going to just enjoy the ride.

Said Pierce in his announcement, “After 18 NBA years, it’s hard to believe I’ll be playing in each arena for the last time. So I’m going to enjoy every practice, every bus ride, every team dinner, every time running out through the tunnel. I’m going to do my part to give us a shot at the ultimate goal.”

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

KELLY OLYNYK

2015-16 season

69 games with Celtics: 20.2 minutes, 10.0 points, 45.5% FG, 1.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 0.8 steals

Olynyk established himself as a prime option both as a shooter and a big man off the bench last season. He led the team in 3-point percentage and occasionally could be relied on to grab a rebound. He started just eight games but often was one of the first players off the bench for Brad Stevens.

Projected role in 2016-17

With the addition of Al Horford, Olynyk may be able to be looked upon as a shooter and guy to run the four instead of playing down low. This would enable him to shoot more than he did last season — which could see mixed results. Nonetheless, he will be looked at as one of the first options off the bench to play in the front court.

Biggest strength 

Shooting

Though not exactly Peja Stojakovic, Olynyk’s ability to shoot is a huge asset to a shooting-deficient team. What’s more, his 7-foot height results in him almost never getting blocked. Should he shoot more this year and hit with around the same accuracy, it will only further improve his value off the bench.

Biggest weakness

Strength

Olynyk is big, but he hasn’t quite developed the strength it takes to play in the low post with other players in similar roles across the league. As a result, that’s made him a pretty unreliable option and a mismatch at times when matching up against a strong player of similar height. That limits his functionality, especially on defense, because he can’t be called upon if he’s going to be the biggest man on the court, because it will require him to do more than just shoot from 15-plus feet.

Likelihood of making final 15

Certain

Olynyk will continue to serve as one of the Celtics’ top big men off the bench, especially with his willingness to shoot from deep.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

ISAIAH THOMAS

2015-16 season

82 games with Celtics: 32.2 minutes, 22.2 points, 42.8% FG, 6.2 assists, 3.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals

The point guard certainly earned his first career All-Star appearance last season, and as a result had his name rightfully being tossed around with the top point guards in the league. He started all but three games and proved he could do it all on both ends of the floor. He could force turnovers on defense and be a stout defender. He could be a ball distributor or score off the dribble and drive. Whatever Brad Stevens asked of him, he answered the call, all the while always seeming to know his role in late, intense situations, whether it was making a key pass, taking the big shot or playing lockdown defense.

Projected role in 2016-17

Don’t expect anything to change for Thomas. He almost certainly will be the starting point guard and will have to do it all for Stevens, and he should be able to do just that. He’ll have to continue to be a defensive threat, but he’ll still need to serve as one of the best ball distributors in the league but be willing to shoot at the same time — something that shouldn’t be an issue for him.

Biggest strength 

Fearlessness

Thomas’ fearlessness is one of his biggest strengths because it plays a role in everything he does. At 5-foot-9, he was the second-highest scorer in points off the drive last season. At the same time, he’s not afraid to shoot, and those two traits combined essentially form his offensive prowess. Defensively, he’s not afraid to go for a big steal and try to intercept passes at the top of the key. Though that does occasionally leave him in a bad spot out of position when he misses, it resulted in multiple turnover points last season.

Biggest weakness

Range

Here’s the good news: He’s said he’s working on it. Thomas has proven he has the ability to be a knockdown shooter from deep, but he can be painfully inconsistent, though he has cited that he’s worked on improving that for this season — especially in shooting from 3 off the dribble. In the meantime, that has been the most glaringly obvious flaw in his game, especially considering the frequency with which he shoots.

Likelihood of making final 15

Certain

No questions on this one. Thomas will continue to be the fabric of the Celtics this season.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen

With Celtics training camp set to begin on Sept. 26, WEEI.com presents a player-by-player breakdown of the roster. The Celtics have 20 players under contract but will have to cut the roster to 15 by the start of the season.

TYLER ZELLER

2015-16 season 

60 games with Celtics: 11.8 minutes, 6.1 points, 47.6% FG, 3.0 rebounds

Zeller saw his minutes cut in half last season but made the best of his situation by stepping up in moments when the Celtics needed him. After losing his starting job to Amir Johnson, Zeller saw his role further diminished as Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger shared minutes at the center spot. But Zeller did have a few memorable performances. In a 124-109 win over the Bucks in early April — a game with playoff implications — Zeller had his best game of the season, finishing with 26 points on 9-of-15 shots and four blocks. It proved to Stevens that he always has a backup plan in Zeller — a player who can score in double figures on any given night.

Projected role in 2016-17

Behind Al Horford, Amir Johnson and Kelly Olynyk, there aren’t a whole lot of minutes for Zeller this season. However, when opportunities are present Zeller will provide instant offense. There’s a reason the Celtics signed him to a two-year, $16 million deal this past summer. He may be an insurance policy for Johnson and Olynyk (who is expected to miss the start of the regular season after having surgery on his right shoulder) but that doesn’t mean he’s incapable of taking on big minutes. There just aren’t enough minutes for Zeller. His offense is inferior to Olynyk’s and Johnson is a much better defender — thus making Zeller the Celtics’ third-string center this season.

Biggest strength 

Post scoring

Zeller has great hands for a center. He does a good job of scoring around the rim and will catch almost every pass in and around the paint. He’s also great at making moves on the block and finish strong on fast breaks.

Biggest weakness

Post defense

Zeller struggles in defending opposing big men in the paint. He makes a great effort in trying to grab rebounds and in help-defense situations, but he has a hard time in trying to make defensive stops down low and has a tendency to rack up fouls.  

Likelihood of making final 15

Certain

He’s definitely good enough to make the roster. But cracking Stevens’ rotation at a consistent level will be a challenge.

Blog Author: 
Josue Pavon

After 21 years, Kevin Garnett’s NBA career is over.

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

After 21 years, Kevin Garnett’s NBA career is over.

The 40-year-old announced his retirement via an Instagram video on Friday, hours after accepting a buyout from the Timberwolves, which was first reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Had Garnett returned this season, he would’ve become the only player in league history to play 22 seasons.

Garnett’s career ends after a second stint with the Wolves, who drafted him fifth overall out of high school in 1995. He spent 12 years in Minnesota before being traded to the Celtics in July of 2007 as part of the Celtics’ formulation of the Big 3 with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

He won the only championship of his career with the C’s in 2008, memorably screaming, “Anything’s possible!” in the moments after the win.

His career took a disappointing turn, however, when he was dealt to the Nets with Pierce prior to the 2013 season. He spent a season and a half with Brooklyn before waiving his no-trade clause and heading back to Minnesota.

The 15-time All-Star left quite an impression with the Celtics, earning All-Star honors all but one season in Boston while averaging 15.7 points and 8.3 rebounds with a stellar 52-percent tally from the field in his 396 games over six seasons in green.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen