Tristan Thompson felt no need to be coy Thursday.
The Celtics' new big man was asked in his introductory press conference about what drew him to Boston and offered a candid response, revealing he spoke with C's stars Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker about joining forces well before Danny Ainge signed him on Nov. 30.
"I’ve always heard the rumblings about the Celtics (being) interested in me,” Thompson told reporters. "I’ve got a good relationship with Jaylen; I’ve known Jaylen since he first got drafted. JT, we’ve talked and he reached out to me after the deadline and all this stuff about coming to join them.
“So when free agency started, Mr. Ainge called me, Brown was able to (call me) and he told me about how much he loves my game and how much I could be a great piece to this team and (the) missing piece to what they’re trying to accomplish."
Thompson also heard from Walker, whom he's known for over a decade thanks to the proximity of their high schools. (Thompson attended Saint Benedict's in Newark; Walker was at Rice in New York City.)
"The fact that Kemba reached out to me ... I’ve had relationships with all these guys," Thompson said. "It felt like I was wanted and it felt like they really wanted me to be a part of what they’re trying to accomplish. It was a pretty easy decision."
Thompson's name often popped up in Celtics trade rumors as a hard-working big man who would fill their perennial rebounding void. If the 29-year-old averages more than 10 rebounds per game -- which he did in his last two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers -- he'll become the first C's player to do so since Al Jefferson in 2006-07.
So, after the Celtics freed up the taxpayer midlevel exception following Gordon Hayward's exit, Thompson seemed like a logical fit on Boston's end. Fortunately for Ainge, his best players had already been laying the groundwork for the 9-year veteran to choose the C's.