Celtics

Celtics

BOSTON – Tyler Zeller’s preparation for this season isn’t all that different than past years.

But there is one difference – he’s going into a contract year.

Of course that could become a moot point if he and the Celtics come to terms on a contract extension which is something Zeller acknowledged is being discussed between his representatives and the Boston Celtics.

Zeller, the 17th overall selection in the 2012 NBA draft, is eligible for an extension prior to the start of this season in which the 7-foot center will earn $2.6 million.

“You’re always hopeful for it (extension), but at the same time it’s one of those things I’m trying to prepare for the year, trying to get ready for the year,” Zeller said prior to playing in the Eighth annual Teeing Up for Kids Golf Tournament at the Old Sandwich Golf Club, on Tuesday. “Whatever happens, happens kind of thing. As of now, it’s one of those things, I’m trying to get ready for the year ad trying not to worry about that and just seeing what happens.”

Zeller is an intriguing talent for the Celtics to get a true read on whether to ink him to a multi-term deal.

He is the lone center on the roster currently, and showed signs last season of being a solid performer.

Prior to the start of last season, the Celtics used a portion of the trade exception generated in the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn, to trade for Zeller who at the time played for Cleveland.

Zeller played in all 82 games last season while averaging career highs in just about every statistical category such as points (10.2), rebounds (5.7), field goal percentage (.549) as well as starts (59).

If Zeller and the Celtics don’t get a deal done prior to the start of the season, he becomes a restricted free agent next summer.

While the chances for a bigger payday increase next summer due to increased financial flexibility teams will have courtesy of the league’s new TV deal kicking in, Zeller doesn’t sound all that eager about hitting the restricted free agent market.

“It would be nice to have an extension, just a little more security,” Zeller admitted. “But at the same time, you have to approach the year and you can’t be heartbroken if you don’t get it. You have to make sure you’re fully prepared. Either way, I have to do my job this year. I have one more year on my contract. So I have to go out and do as much as I can to help our team this year.”