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Rumor: Celtics will not extend Kelly Olynyk, let him be restricted free agent next summer

Kelly Olynyk, Mike Scott

Boston Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, left, reacts after being called for an offensive foul against Atlanta Hawks’ Mike Scott, right, during the second quarter in Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


This is a rumor, but it’s also just logical.

Kelly Olynyk has shown flashes of quality play, and he certainly can stretch the floor (he shot 40.5 percent from three last season), but he also battled multiple injuries — including off-season shoulder surgery this summer that kept him from competing with Canada as the country tried to qualify in Olympic basketball.

This summer he is eligible for a contract extension off his rookie deal, but the Celtics are more likely to wait a year and let him become a restricted free agent, reports Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

Forward/center Kelly Olynyk is eligible to sign a long-term deal before the Oct. 30 deadline but the Celtics are likely to wait until next summer to determine whether to invest in him long term. This is a critical season for Olynyk, who is coming off shoulder surgery. He will be depended on to be the floor-stretching sharpshooter the Celtics have desired the past three years. Olynyk has missed 43 games over his first three seasons, primarily because of injuries. The Celtics want more toughness and consistency from their former first-round pick

Waiting is the smart play here for Boston, as is keeping its options open heading into next season (where Danny Ainge continues to look for another star to put next to Al Horford).

Olynyk has value. He can stretch the floor, had a 57.7 eFG% on catch-and-shoot attempts, can score around the rim, shows good passing gifts, and the Celtics were 5.2 points per 100 possessions better than their opponents when he was on the court last season. Yes, he needs to be stronger on the boards and defensively (he’s not a rim protector), but a number of NBA teams could use him in a rotation spot.

Which means, Olynyk is going to get a healthy pay bump next summer. But the Celtics don’t need to jump the gun to give it to him.