The Boston Celtics’ offseason of moves continued into the preseason as they signed big man Nathan Knight to a two-way contract. He will replace Jay Scrubb as the team’s third two-way guy after the Summer League standout tore his ACL during training camp.
Knight joins the Celtics after spending the preseason with the New York Knicks, facing off against Boston twice during their slate of games. After getting cut loose by New York, he caught on with the guys in green.
“[I had a] conversation with Brad Stevens and [Joe] Mazzulla,” Knight said after Sunday’s practice. “They were willing to give me an opportunity to come here, put in work for them, [and] do what I can to contribute to the organization. I’m just happy to be here.”
Newest Celtic Nathan Knight getting shots up. He didn’t do a ton and eased into practice on his first day here. Boston signed him to a 2way deal after NYK waived him.— Celtics on CLNS (@CelticsCLNS) October 22, 2023
⚡️@FDSportsbook @HelloFresh @_OddsR pic.twitter.com/wv17JIaDhf
The 6-foot-8 forward/center spent time after practice playing one-on-one with Jaylen Brown, Jordan Walsh, Lamar Stevens, and Payton Pritchard. After, he worked tirelessly on his jump shot with Celtics player development coach Jermaine Bucknor.
One of Knight’s best performances of his career was against the Celtics. He put up 20 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists in a short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves win.
Knight doesn’t recall the ins and outs of the showing but rather that he was simply doing what he could to help the team.
“For me, I was just looking at it [as], ‘What can I do to help my team be successful?’” he said of his monster game against Boston in 2021. “Just took advantage of my opportunity, took the shots that were there. If the shots weren’t there, being able to find my teammates. I couldn’t really break the game down for you play-by-play, but just trying to do what I can to win.”
He’s only been in Boston for a day or two, but he’s already making plenty of Celtics connections, especially thanks to some of the relationships he formed in the past.
“Al Horford has been a mentor of mine,” Knight said. “He was in and out of Atlanta when I was there my rookie year. Outside of that, Lamar Stevens is a good friend of mine. Oshae Brissett, he went to Syracuse. I grew up in Syracuse. So, I know him through that, and I’m just really excited to get to know the other guys as well.”
The 26-year-old has yet to appear in more than 40 NBA games through his first three seasons, nor has he averaged more than 8.5 minutes per contest, a peak he reached during his rookie season.
Knight attended William & Mary for four years, earning three All-CAA (Coastal Athletic Association) nods, making three All-CAA defensive teams, and winning All-CAA DPOY and Player of the Year in the 2019-20 season his senior year.
While his NBA career hasn’t panned out quite the way he may have wanted, he’s committed to keeping his head down and putting in the work.
“I think it’s just staying steadfast in my work,” said Knight. “Thanking a man upstairs, thanking my support group that I have, my family, my friends, my significant other, all those people being able to keep me even-keeled and level-headed as I go through this process.”
As Knight continues to traverse the rocky water that is the path to the NBA, he’s committed to helping the Celtics in any way he can.
Chances to play at the highest level are hard to come by, and no matter what role Mazzulla and the Celtics ask him to play, he’s ready to roll.
“The business can be treacherous, and opportunities are slim,” Knight said. “So just being able to take advantage of those when they come and again, going out there and do whatever my organization needs me to do. If I need to be the cheerleader, I’ll be the best cheerleader we have. Just going out there and [doing] whatever I can to help my organization win games.”