BOSTON — Aaron Harrison spent his first two seasons in the NBA playing alongside Kemba Walker with the Charlotte Hornets and raved about the leader that Boston is getting after the sides agreed to a four-yer, $141 million contract on Sunday night.
"Everybody is going to love Kemba here,” said Harrison, who latched on with the Hornets after going undrafted in 2015. A veteran of three NBA seasons, Harrison is playing for Boston’s summer squad with hopes of making it back to the league after spending last season overseas in Turkey.
"He’s a great leader. Everybody wants to be around him. He’s just a good dude to be around.”
Harrison raved about the way Walker carried himself, even early in his pro career with Charlotte.
"He’s probably one of the best people in the NBA that I’ve been around, for sure,” said Harrison. "He’s the most humble guy. I was a rookie and he took great care of me. He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever met.”
How might Walker interact with younger teammates? Can Walker nurture them and help them develop?
"He’s not going to blame anyone,” said Harrison. "He’s not going to blame anyone else. He’ll take the blame himself, he’ll take responsibility for himself, and he will help guys but he’s not going to blame anyone."
Celtics rookie Grant Williams, a Charlotte native who watched Walker with the Hornets growing up, said he saw Walker at the facility on Sunday and raved about what he can bring to the team.
"You see how he plays off the pick and roll. You see how dynamic of a point guard he is,” said Williams. "It’s really exciting to see him play. I grew up in Charlotte so I was there watching him and he practiced at my high school [Providence Day School] a couple times.
"So just seeing how talented of a guard he is putting the ball in the basket and seeing him play with guys that really love to play the game and play the game the right way here would be even more exciting. So I’m excited to get to the first practice.”
On a roster with a bunch of fresh-faced rookies, Harrison is a bit of an outlier. He’s still only 24 but he’s looking to earn a spot back in the NBA.
"I know Coach [Brad] Stevens likes smart players and player with skill so I think that’s what I bring to the table. I feel like I’m going to get a good opportunity,” said Harrison, who said the Celtics reached out a couple months ago about the possibility of playing for their summer squad.
"It’s a huge goal [to get back to the NBA]. I think I’ve matured now and I know I’m talented enough to play in the league, I just had to figure it out, and I think I have figured it out. Just gotta get the right opportunity and I thought this was the best case for me. Just gonna go out, play well, and do what I can with my minutes.”
What’s the biggest change in Harrison’s game since his last NBA experience with the Mavericks in 2018?
“Confidence," said Harrison. "I’m just confident that I can play with anybody, against anybody. And do well. It’s just about the opportunity and taking advantage of the opportunity when it comes.”
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