After the Celtics made it to the eastern conference finals for the first time since 2012 last season, Danny Ainge decided to make a few changes to the roster. A few changes is certainly the understatement of the century, because Boston is only returning four players from last year’s team. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and Terry Rozier are the remaining survivors barring any more moves.
With the fierce amount of change the Celtics roster has undergone, it’s easy to misplace where the other 11 players ended up. No worries though, because that will all be outlined right here for your convenience. It is important to note that everyone except Gerald Green has found a new home for next season.
Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder: Cleveland Cavaliers
Two critical players on last year’s Celtics team will now play with LeBron James on Boston’s biggest eastern conference rival. Thomas and Crowder were both involved in the blockbuster trade that brought Kyrie Irving to the Celtics, and were both top five in scoring on the Celtics last season.
In Cleveland, they’ll both be apart of a team that has a shot at a championship. Thomas will be in line for a new contract after next season, but Crowder is signed through 2020. Both players are scheduled to make their return to Boston on January 3rd.
Avery Bradley: Detroit Pistons
The Celtics traded Bradley in early July for Marcus Morris in order to create the cap space necessary to sign Gordon Hayward. Bradley was the longest tenured member of the Celtics up until the deal, and that title now belongs to Marcus Smart.
Bradley will be in line for a new contract as well similar to Thomas, and will be a key player for a Pistons team hoping to make the playoffs. Maybe the Celtics see him in the first round, but who knows? Bradley is scheduled to make his return to Boston on November 27th.
Kelly Olynyk and Jordan Mickey: Miami Heat
Olynyk was another casualty to the Celtics’ efforts in creating max cap space. He signed a four-year $50 million contract with the Heat shortly after Boston landed Hayward. Mickey signed a one-year $1.5 million deal after two years in Boston as a reserve.
Miami has serious playoff hopes after missing the postseason last year, and Olynyk will certainly be a key player on the team. Mickey always flashed potential, and maybe in Miami he’ll get enough opportunity to reach it. Both players are scheduled to make their return to Boston on December 20th.
Amir Johnson: Philadelphia 76ers
Johnson was an unsung hero during the regular season in both years he was in Boston, but wasn’t entirely useful during the playoffs when Brad Stevens went small. The veteran big man landed a one-year $11 million deal with the Sixers at the start of free agency.
This is a nice pay day for Johnson, and will be a key voice in the locker room for a Sixers team that has a ton of young talent in need of guidance. Johnson will return to Boston on November 30th.
Jonas Jerebko: Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz took revenge on the Celtics for taking Hayward away by signing the “Swedish Larry Bird” to a two-year $8.2 million contract. While Jerebko wasn’t one of the best players on the roster during his time in Boston, he will be sorely missed.
Jerebko’s perimeter shooting and underrated defensive ability as a 6’10 big/swing will surely help a Jazz team still hoping to make the playoffs in a loaded western conference. Jerebko is scheduled to return to Boston on December 15th.
Tyler Zeller: Brooklyn Nets
Zeller recently signed a two-year deal with the Nets and will reportedly compete for backup center minutes. Zeller’s role diminished after being the starting center for the Celtics when they made the playoffs back in 2015, but will now have plenty of opportunity to play on the rebuilding Nets.
Celtics fans have reason to hope Zeller excels in Brooklyn. He was always spoken highly of in the locker room by players and coaches, and the better the Nets do, the worse that traded pick becomes for the Cavaliers.
James Young: Milwaukee Bucks
Young was cut by the Celtics at the end of the season, as he never lived up to his first round selection back in 2014. Fortunately for him, he’s still Young! The 22-year-old signed a training camp contract with the Bucks, and will be able to land a roster spot if he plays well in the preseason.
It is very possible that Young wasn’t in the correct situation in Boston. He definitely needed time to develop, but the team got pretty good fairly quickly, so it just didn’t aadd up. Best of luck to James in his future moves. Ainge had to have seen something in Young’s game to use the 17th pick on him.
Demetrius Jackson: Houston Rockets
Jackson fell victim to the depth the Celtics had at the point guard position, and ended up signing a two-way contract with the Rockets after Boston declined to pick up the rest of his guaranteed money.
Unfortunately for Jackson, the Rockets have Chris Paul and James Harden as primary ball handlers in front of him. If I were him, I would spend a ton of time in the gym becoming a knock down three point shooter based on the way they play in Houston.
Jared Sullinger: Shenzhen Leopards(China)
Sully wasn’t on the team last year, but he’s still looking for an opportunity in the NBA. Sullinger signed a two-month deal with the Leopards, which means he is still hoping to get signed by an NBA team at the beginning of the regular season.
Sullinger also played on the Ohio State alumni team in ESPN’s The Basketball Tournament during the summer, and drew praise from former teammate Isaiah Thomas.
My guy @Jared_Sully0 is healthy and looking good!!! Somebody gotta pick him up— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) July 23, 2017
Keep an eye out for the dates that former Celtics are returning to the TD Garden. I’m not sure how many will get video tributes, but all of them deserve applause for their efforts during the Celtics’ rebuild.