The Boston Celtics have bolstered their wing depth and rounded out their roster on Thursday by signing free agent Svi Mykhailiuk to a one-year deal.
Mykhailiuk started last season with the Knicks before he was dealt to the Hornets at the trade deadline. In total, he has played for six teams in five seasons in the NBA.
Prior to this signing, rumors had surfaced that Mykhailiuk was leaning towards signing with Panathinaikos Athens in Greece, but had been mulling over a minimum deal the Celtics offered.
Who is Svi Mykhailiuk? What does he bring to the Celtics, and why did they choose to sign him over the plethora of forwards they worked out? Here are five things to know.
He’s an elite shooter.
Mykhailiuk’s calling card has always been his shooting range. Throughout his NBA career, he has shot 36 percent from behind the three-point line. Last season was the best shooting season of his career — he shot a combined 42.4 percent from beyond the arc with the Knicks, averaging 3.7 attempts per game.
He made 24 three-pointers against the Celtics last season, which is the highest number of threes he’s made against any one team.
He started playing professionally more than a decade ago.
Despite not making his NBA debut until the 2018-19 season, Mykhailiuk is no stranger to professional basketball. When he was just a teenager in 2012, the Cherkasy, Ukraine, native began his career by playing for his hometown club, Cherkaski Mavpy of the Ukrainian Basketball SuperLeague, the top league in the country.
Mykhailiuk played for Cherkaski Mavpy from 2012-14 against older competition. In his final season with the club, he represented Team Ukraine in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, averaging 1.8 points in just 8.3 minutes per four games.
He set records while at Kansas.
Fresh off of playing for Cherkaski Mavpy, Mykhailiuk moved to the United States in 2014 and turned down offers from schools such as Virginia and Oregon to play for Kansas. He became the youngest player to ever play in the Big 12 at just 17 years old.
Mykhailiuk made 115 threes during his senior season, which is a school record.
He was drafted by the Celtics’ biggest rival.
Mykhailiuk put his name in the 2018 NBA Draft, and the Los Angeles Lakers selected him with their 47th pick. He signed a three-year deal with the Lakers.
“I feel like it’s just a blessing to be part of the Lakers and be part of the NBA,” Mykhailiuk said after he was drafted. “With all of the Lakers’ history, it’s just a blessing to be part of the team.”
Mykhailiuk played in 39 games, averaging 3.3 points in 10.5 minutes per game. Just before the trade deadline in 2019, he was traded to the Pistons, where his minutes doubled and scoring numbers tripled. He was a Piston until he was dealt to the Thunder in 2021.
He has advocated against Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Millions of Ukrainians were displaced when Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. On that day, Mykhailiuk and center Alex Len, the only two active Ukrainian players in the NBA, released a joint statement condemning the invasion and extended prayers for those who resided in Ukraine.
“A great tragedy befell our dear homeland Ukraine,” they said. “We categorically condemn the war.”
In their statement, Mykhailiuk and Len described the country they love as a “peaceful, sovereign state inhabited by people who want to decide their own destiny.” The two ended their statement by encouraging those people to stay strong amid this terrible conflict, one that is still going on today.
“Dear fellow Ukrainians,” they said, “Hold on! Our strength is unity! We are with you!”