LOS ANGELES Hes the lesser known part of the Celtics massive trade deadline move, but seven-foot Serbain center Nenad Krstic is still just as eager to get started on his Boston Celtics career, and more than thankful for the opportunity hell have for the rest of the season with Cs.
Im really grateful to be part of the Boston Celtics, Krstic said on Saturday after the teams morning shoot around at UCLA. I was shocked for like three days. I didnt expect any trades. This is the first time in my life Ive been traded, so Im still in a little shock but Im very happy to be here to be with this team and this organization.
Krstic wont have the luxury to remain in shock much longer, though. With Shaquille ONeal and Jermaine ONeal still recovering from injury, and Semih Erden now with the Cavaliers, Krstic is the Celtics lone healthy center, and until Shaq returns sometime in the next week or so, hell serve as the Celtics starting center. Eventually, his role will figure more prominently with the second unit, but until then, Krstic is ready for whatever Doc Rivers asks him to do.
I didnt even talk to the coach about that yet, Krstic said about his role. This is the first time Ive met all these guys. Whatever my role is, Im great with that. I dont really care about he minutes or anything because Im really happy to be here.
While he hasnt had much time with Rivers, Krstic does have a history with another Celtics coach. He played for four years in New Jersey under then head coach Lawrence Frank, who now serves as Bostons assistant. Krstic believes that time with Frank will be important as he adjusts to life in Green.
It helps a lot, he said of Frank. I played with him four years in Jersey and we really had a good time there. Hes really going to help me a lot.
What will also help him is the invaluable experience of his All-Star teammates. Obviously, hes yet to spend much time with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, but after one practice, Krstic is already excited about all that the other Celtics have to offer.
It was amazing, he said. Those guys are all All -Stars. Theyve been in the league so many years, and theyre just trying to help me with the offensive sets. Defensively too, and its great. Im looking forward to playing with these. Im really happy. This is just my first impression but this is going to be fun.
But he also knows that in Boston, unlike any other situation hes been in during his career, that fun can only be had if they win the title. And while, especially coming off an upstart situation in Oklahoma City, that might take some adjustment, Krstic is ecstatic over the opportunity to play with so much on the line.
This is my first time with a team like this, he said, where they want to win right now. Its going to be a great experience, just to learn so much from these guys. Hopefully were going to win the championship and Ill go back to Serbia with a ring.