With the Boston Celtics having made big offseason moves already, the team is likely just sitting out in preparation for the 2023-24 season. Despite the season not starting for another couple months, the team isn’t completely moving away from the spotlight. Between Kristaps Porzingis, Jimmy Butler, and DJ Steward, this is a roundup of the biggest and latest reports and rumors related to the Celtics.
Celtics Offseason Roundup: Star Expected to Miss FIBA World Cup
Kristaps Porzingis Expected to Miss FIBA World Cup
The Celtics acquired Kristaps Porzingis in a blockbuster trade from the Washington Wizards this offseason. Although he has yet to play an official game for the Celtics, Porzingis has already suffered a foot injury. This injury will likely take the Latvian big man out of action for the FIBA World Cup. This comes just a few weeks after Al Horford and Oshae Brissett were ruled out of the FIBA World Cup as well. There are no current members of the Celtics expected to compete in the tournament with Porzingis’ injury.
Despite the injury, the Celtics are reportedly not concerned over Porzingis’ status. Four-to-six weeks is the expected rehab time for Porzingis. Therefore, he should be ready for the start of training camp. Only time will tell how much this injury affects the big man’s availability this season, if at all.
#NEBHInjuryReport Kristaps Porzingis has been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He will engage in a four-to-six-week rehab program, and is expected to be cleared for the start of training camp.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) August 16, 2023
Danny Ainge Reveals The Celtics Nearly Traded for Jimmy Butler
On a recent podcast interview with The Players Tribune, former Celtics president Danny Ainge revealed he came close to a trade with the Chicago Bulls to acquire Butler in 2016. Ainge says the Bulls wanted the Celtics’ 2016 and 2017 first-round draft picks in return. As we know now, these picks turned into Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
Brown just recently signed a supermax contract with the Celtics while Tatum is in line for one next offseason. The young duo will likely be the faces of the Celtics franchise for years to come after an NBA Finals appearance in 2022–a loss to the Golden State Warriors.
As for Butler, he would eventually get traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2017. Butler would also play for the Philadelphia 76ers from 2018-2019 before finding his home with the Miami Heat in 2019. Butler has led the Heat to two NBA Finals appearances in 2020 and 2023–both losses to the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets, respectively.
The Celtics have had intense rivalries with Jimmy Butler for many years at this point. Imagining the 6x-NBA All Star in Boston and on the other side of the rivalry is certainly interesting. Likewise, Brown and Tatum playing in Chicago completely changes the landscape of the NBA in 2023.
Butler is a fantastic player who may make his way to the NBA Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done. That said, it’s easy to imagine that this is a trade Ainge is glad he didn’t make.
Celtics Sign Former Duke Guard to a Training Camp Deal
The Celtics have one two-way contract left to offer this offseason, and Duke alum DJ Steward may be the guy to get it. Steward signed a training camp deal with the Celtics, meaning he can compete in training camp for a contract.
Steward went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft after averaging 13 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 2.4 APG in his one year at Duke. The one-and-done Blue Devil signed a contract with the Sacramento Kings after getting invited to their summer league team. The Kings waived the 6’2″ guard before the season started. However, Steward would sign with the Kings’ G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings, shortly thereafter.
In April 2023, Steward became a member of the Vancouver Bandits–a team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League. The Bandits released Steward in June to prepare for the 2023 NBA Summer League with the 76ers.
During the 2023 NBA Summer League, Steward averaged 16.2 PPG on 53.7 FG% and 47.6 3pt%. This includes a 36-point game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
DJ Steward may or may not get that final two-way contract from the Celtics, but he has clearly played well enough to get the opportunity.