The Celtics had five open roster spots following their collection of moves at the Feb. 10 trade deadline. One was filled when two-way contract player Sam Hauser’s deal was converted to a standard NBA contract, but that created a two-way void, too.
The Celtics this week filled that opening by signing guard Matt Ryan to a two-way deal. Ryan averaged 15.8 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists, while shooting 38.5 percent from the 3-point line for the G League’s Grand Rapids Gold. He also played in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers last month.
Ryan, 24, played at Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, and Chattanooga before graduating in 2020.
“I think when we had the spots and availability, a big part of that was obviously going to be shooting,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said Tuesday. “Similar to Sam Hauser signing initially, someone obviously who shot the ball at a high level recently. Played great in the G League, and then carried over to USA Basketball, where he had some good games.”
Boston still has one empty roster spot, and the 10-day deals of Kelan Martin and Malik Fitts are set to expire Friday. The players could be signed to second 10-day contracts, the Celtics could sign other players to 10-day deals, or they could explore the buyout market.
Players waived by Tuesday night will be eligible to take part in this season’s playoffs if they sign with another team.
“We can explore it, for sure,” Udoka said. “We have two guys on 10-days now, so some flexibility as far as that. Unless it was something that comes out of the woodwork, I guess, that we haven’t really heard about, it feels like we’ll stand pat, but you never know with the deadline today.
“We’ll see the names that come up. There’s some that have been floated out there but, unless there’s a surprise, we’ll see.”
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Celtics guard Derrick White started 129 of 141 games over his last 2½ seasons with the Spurs before being traded to the Celtics last month.
In Boston, he is adjusting to a new role coming off the bench, and it has been a struggle at times following a sparkling debut. White went into Tuesday’s game against the visiting Hawks shooting 38.8 percent from the field and 25 percent from the 3-point line. He averaged 5.6 assists per game with San Antonio, but just 3 with the Celtics.
“It’s a little bit of an adjustment to come off the bench rather than start, but I’ve come off the bench before, so just trying to get back to that mind-set,” White said. “Just get more comfortable as the games go on and while I’m out there just do what I do and try to help the team win.”
White said he has also had to adjust to playing against more Eastern Conference teams, but his familiarity with Udoka, a former Spurs assistant, has helped.
“Obviously differences from team to team, but you see what he took from his time in San Antonio, both playing and coaching,” White said. “It definitely made the transition a lot easier. You definitely see the similarities in what we’re going here and the stuff we did back in San Antonio.”