BOSTON (CBS) – Even after the Celtics added Al Horford to the mix in July, Isaiah Thomas was not shy about voicing his desire for more weapons to be added to the Celtics bench next season.
“We need more,” Thomas said back in July. “Definitely comfortable with the moves he’s made. I mean, everyone knew we were trying to get Durant. We came up short but we got another All-Star in Al Horford and I know Danny’s not done. Hopefully we get a few more pieces to the puzzle and that’ll be a successful summer.”
Danny Ainge took his time to fill the remainder of the roster as free agency progressed, but he managed to bring former Celtic Gerald Green back to the fold on a one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum. While the swingman was not the splashy name that Celtics fans may have been hoping for, Thomas is one player who is a big fan of the addition.
“Man, he’s gonna help us out,” Thomas said of Green Friday while volunteering at the McKay School in East Boston. “He can shoot the ball; he’s athletic, something we don’t really have, a knockdown shooter and someone that can create for himself.”
Green struggled throughout his past season with the Miami Heat, shooting a dismal 39 percent from the field and 32 percent from 3-point range, but he played some of the best basketball of his career with the Phoenix Suns a mere two years ago. Thomas was one of Green’s teammates during Green’s stint in Phoenix and he’s looking forward to recreating the chemistry they had together in Boston.
“When we played in Phoenix together it was tough because we played so well together and they had two other guards that were pretty good as well,” Thomas explained. “I’m excited to get things going and he’s been here before so it’s nothing new for him. I know he’s gonna help us and I know he’s excited.”
Green’s return to Boston also gives him a second chance with the franchise that selected him as a high schooler at No. 18 overall in the 2005 NBA Draft. Green’s dealt with plenty of off-court and maturity issues throughout his up-and-down NBA career, but Thomas is confident that he’s eager to show he can be a vital contributor on a winning team.
“I mean, he’s ready,” Thomas declared. “He’s more mature now. He’s ready for the opportunity. I know Coach Brad is excited to have him because like I said, he’s someone you can throw the ball to and he can get a bucket. If he can’t do anything else, he can go and score the basketball. I’m excited to have him, another piece to the puzzle and I know he’s ready.”
Brad Stevens echoed that attitude about Green while appearing at the ABCD Hoop Dreams fundraiser earlier this week at the TD Garden.
“I’ve been a big Gerald Green fan because I’ve been scared of him. And I think that that’s a great way to figure out how good a player is. When you go into a game, he’s on your scouting report, maybe in a highlighted way because he could go off for a lot of points in a short amount of time. He can change the course of a game. Does he do it every night, historically? No. But he’s had moments and times where he has done that. So I think he brings a spurtability to us that we clearly needed from a scoring standpoint.”
The 6-foot-7 forward will have plenty of competition to battle on Boston’s second unit for minutes, including No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown, but the high-flying Green will have plenty of people in his corner as he tries to become a fixture in the Celtics rotation.
Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to NBA.com, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.