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Brad Stevens on RJ Hunter signing: “We’re all really excited to have him back”

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After countless stops, RJ Hunter finds himself right back where it all began.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

MIAMI - Brad Stevens led the Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference’s seventh seed in the 2015 NBA Playoffs, while finishing fourth in the league’s Coach of the Year race. A little over a month later, the team would draft RJ Hunter with the 28th overall pick.

Fast forward almost four years. Stevens is a consistent Coach of the Year candidate, and the Celtics are one of the league’s most promising teams. Hunter, on the other hand, has experienced a much different four years.

After being waived by the Celtics in October of 2016, Hunter bounced around quite a bit, making stops in Chicago, Long Island, Houston, Rio Grande, Atlanta, Erie, and not to mention multiple Summer League teams in between. After all those miles, Hunter now finds himself right back where it all started.

The Celtics officially signed Hunter to a two-way contract on Thursday afternoon, after Priority Sports, Hunter’s agency, made this announcement 24 hours earlier. The 25-year-old then made his own announcement on Instagram, saying, “It’s been a journey since I last was in a Celtic jersey and for them to give me another chance means everything to me. I worked my ass off to become the best me on and off the court And to come back to this organization a better person/player overall is a wild feeling. So much more work to be done but I just want to thank the Celtics for this opportunity.”

Now that the signing has been officially announced by the team, Stevens was able to comment on Hunter’s return before Thursday night’s matchup with the Miami Heat.

“It’s a neat story,” said Stevens. “I think one of the toughest things that I’ve been a part of over the last six years was when we had those 16 guaranteed contracts in the fall and we had to make a decision on one, and we ultimately had to waive RJ because we thought he was a high-upside player that had really gotten better, that was going to work hard to be better.”

“I think we’re all really excited to have him back,” added Stevens. “He’ll be up in Maine as he gets re-transitioned to us. I’m sure he’ll spend whatever time (he) can with us as well, so we’re excited to have him.”

In 22 games with the Erie BayHawks this season, Hunter averaged 22 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists, while shooting 42.6 percent from the floor and 34.3 percent from deep.