Celtics

Celtics sign Jabari Bird to two-way contract

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Celtics sign Jabari Bird to two-way contract

BOSTON – Slowly but surely the Boston Celtics are filling out their training camp roster.

The latest addition to the mix is rookie Jabari Bird from Cal-Berkeley who becomes the second Boston Celtic to be signed to a two-way contract which is a one-year deal.

He joins fellow rookie Kadeem Allen whose two-way contract was signed last month shortly after the Celtics wrapped up summer league play in Las Vegas.

Boston has a confirmed 18 players slated for training camp - 14 with guaranteed contracts, Bird and Allen on two-way contract deals and camp invitees Andrew White III from Syracuse and P.J. Leak of Georgetown.

Two-way contracts are the latest wrinkle in the NBA’s efforts to give players more incentive to play closer to home rather than take their talents overseas if they are among those undrafted.

Players who sign two-way contracts can spend up to 45 days with an NBA team while the rest of their season will be spent in the Gatorade League.

The biggest reasons players often bypass the G-League (formerly the D-League) and play in another country, is the money.

While playing overseas has the potential to still pay more, the G-League is at least more competitive now in terms of salary. And with the prospect of seeing as many as 45 days in the NBA, that makes it a lot more attractive to players who are weighing the option of staying state-side versus playing outside the United States.

In the G-League, players signed to two-way contracts will make $75,000 and if they get called up to the NBA, they will earn the pro-rated rookie minimum which has the potential to earn two-way players more than $200,000.

This creates a potential win-win for the player who can get some experience in the NBA while earning a salary that is at least competitive to what they might earn overseas.

And the team’s, Boston’s G-League affiliate the Maine Red Claws as well as the Celtics, come out doing well in this arrangement as well.

The G-League team’s will likely attract talent that would have potentially played overseas, while NBA teams can get a closer look at players they see with potential but still need developing, and not have it count against their NBA-maximum for guaranteed roster spots which is 15.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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