Jared Sullinger would "love to" return to Boston Celtics


Jared Sullinger would "love to" return to Boston Celtics

Jared Sullinger told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast he’d “love to come back” next season to the Boston Celtics, but he understands there are a lot of variables.

“We'll see. I understand there's a lot of free agents out there. I understand there's a lot of draft picks they have. There might be a lot of movement,” Sullinger said. “They gave me a chance when nobody else was going to give me a chance and just for that I feel like I owe them. I would love to come back.”

Sullinger sounds like he knows there are no promises. The Celtics have a heap of draft picks and cap space, so they can and will aim high. Bringing back their own players may only become a priority if they fail to make a splash.

However, Sullinger didn’t exactly make the decision easy for the Celtics front office this past season. While he improved as a rebounder and defender, his offensive efficiency dipped significantly. And though he got in better conditioning, he appeared fatigued towards the end of the season.

“I feel like there’s another level that I have to find,” Sullinger said, admitting playing over 80 games was “an eye opener” in regards to the work a player must go to maintain a high level of success. “I have to go above and beyond to find it. I think this summer will be the perfect summer to go find that wind that I need.”

Sullinger wants to be able to play more minutes while maintaining his success and getting in better shape would enable him to do that. But the Celtics also want him to be a more reliable three-point shooter. Mannix asked about his devolution as a floor spacer and Sullinger admitted the long two simply feels more comfortable.

“I spaced behind the three, but I stepped into my shot instead of taking a side-step into a three-point shot. From there I just kept shooting long twos," Sullinger said. "With Brad [Stevens] being an analytics guy, he wanted me to shoot the three because it’s worth more. But I just feel comfortable shooting a long two and I was making them at a high rate.”

Sullinger shot 42.2 percent on long twos compared to 27.7 percent from three over the last three years, so they’re worth about the same (0.84 points per shot for twos to 0.83 points per shot for threes).

Even though Sullinger is one of the better long two shooters in the NBA, he needs to improve only marginally from three to make it a more valuable shot. Shooting threes provides increased floor spacing and driving lanes for the entire team, and it'd increase Sullinger's scoring upside.

Regardless of where the Nets pick ends up in Tuesday’s lottery, signing Sullinger long-term probably isn’t in the best interest of the franchise until he proves that he can stay in shape and extend his range.

Jaylen Brown after concussion: 'My mom definitely said no more dunking'

Jaylen Brown after concussion: 'My mom definitely said no more dunking'

In his first meeting with the media since suffering an ugly concussion, Jaylen Brown was willing to make jokes about the moment which terrified Boston Celtics players and fans.

"Yeah, my mom definitely said no more dunking," Brown said Thursday at Celtics shootaround. "That's what she told me."

But it wasn't all jokes from Brown, who said he was eyeing a return for Sunday's game against the Kings. The Boston Celtics forward was frank about the severity of the moment.


"I think it's just a blessing that I didn't need a stretcher or anything to have to walk off the floor with," Brown said. "It's just a scary situation to be in. You never want to be in that situation where people are saying, 'Pray for you.'"

During the Celtics' win over the Timberwolves on March 9, Brown went for a dunk in transition, but slipped off the rim and fell backward onto his head in an awkward position. He convulsed on the court for a moment before the Celtics training staff rushed to treat him. After a few minutes, he rose and walked off the court.

"When I fell, I was completely knocked out," he said. "I remember them saying, 'Yeah, we're going to need a stretcher,' and something came over me and I just got right up. ... I remember waking up and there was a bunch of people standing around me and I was like, 'What the hell is going on?' And I had no idea I had been out for 30 seconds or whatever they said I was out for. I just remember waking up, and there were a bunch of people around me and I tried to get up and they were like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa.' And I was like, 'What's the big deal.' And that's all I remember to be honest."


Brown has missed five games, but could end that streak at six if he can return Sunday in Sacramento. Brown is averaging 14.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 30.9 minutes per game this season.


    Gordon Hayward gives update on ankle rehab

    File Photo

    Gordon Hayward gives update on ankle rehab

    Gordon Hayward is trying to translate his rehab off the court onto the hardwood. The Boston Celtics forward detailed the latest steps he's taking in his rehab from his ankle injury.

    “Rehab is going well, still progressing on the AlterG (anti-gravity treadmill), trying to get where I can run on a regular treadmill, so 100-percent bodyweight,” Hayward said in a video posted to the Celtics' Twitter account. “Next step after that will be jumping and then hopefully I can incorporate some of that — the running and jumping on the treadmill — to running and jumping on the basketball court, so that’s where I’m at.”

    Hayward suffered his ankle injury in the first five minutes of the season opener. He has not ruled out returning during the 2018 playoffs, though Brad Stevens continues to insist that Hayward will not play again this season.

    “The hope is still there,” Hayward told ESPN on March 9. “It’s something where I’m really honestly not even thinking about it. I know we’re getting toward the end of the year. It’s something that I’m still working toward, but if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”