A collection of Celtics nuggets, with training camp suddenly less than one month away …
▪ The Celtics still have one empty roster spot and a two-way-contract opening after signing veteran wing Svi Mykhailiuk last week. According to a league source, there are no imminent plans to fill the opening, and the team may wait to see which other players become available as cuts are made around the NBA during the preseason. They may target some extra frontcourt help, but also could simply seek a good developmental piece regardless of position.
The Celtics would likely welcome a return by veteran big man Blake Griffin, who played well last year and was a strong locker room presence, but for now that appears unlikely as Griffin considers his future, the source said.
▪ President of basketball operations Brad Stevens’s son Brady, a rising senior at Wellesley High School, recently committed to play for former Celtics assistant Micah Shrewsberry as a walk-on at Notre Dame.
Shrewsberry was Stevens’s assistant at Butler for four seasons and was one of his top lieutenants in Boston from 2013-19 before being hired to coach Penn State. He led the Nittany Lions to the NCAA Tournament last March and was hired to coach the Fighting Irish afterward.
The Shrewsberry and Stevens families remain extremely close, and Brady is very good friends with Braeden Shrewsberry, a top-200 prospect who will be playing for his father as a freshman this fall.
▪ Jayson Tatum has been working out in Los Angeles in recent weeks. His training partner on more than one occasion: Paul Pierce.
▪ It’s impossible to fit every anecdote into a long feature story, so some nuggets were left out of Sunday’s Globe feature about Bill Russell’s relationship with his three children.
Russell’s daughter, Karen, recalled a meaningful phone call she received after her father’s death last summer.
“It was [Barack] Obama, and I just knew by his voice,” she said. “Just all of a sudden, President Obama is on my phone. He said, ‘You know, one of the things I loved for your father was that he got his flowers in real time.’ I said, ‘Mr. President, that’s due in part to the Medal of Freedom [awarded by Obama in 2011].’
“I think the Medal of Freedom made people take a second look at my dad and really appreciate the things he did off the court.”
▪ After Russell and his wife Rose separated in 1969 and later divorced, Karen spent most of her late childhood living with her father while her brothers William Jr. and Jacob split time between the parents. That arrangement, in a way, planted the seeds for Russell’s strong connection with former Lakers star Kobe Bryant in his later years.
“My dad was a girl dad,” Karen Russell said. “And his unique relationship with Kobe, a big part of that was about being girl dads.”
▪ Apropos of nothing: Karen Russell said the family ate Chinese food often, but only after it was introduced to them by Red Auerbach.
▪ Many readers shared their memories of brief interactions with Russell. This one, from former Sports Illustrated editor Mark Mulvoy, was particularly cool.
“In 1968, I flew up to Boston and drove out to North Reading to take Russell into Boston for the luncheon where he’d be honored as our Sportsman of the Year,” Mulvoy wrote in an email. “So, who greeted me when I knocked on the door of Russell’s home? Jim Brown. And they both sat in the back seat of my rented Continental as I drove into the city.”
▪ Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis is about three weeks into his 4-6-week recovery period as he deals with plantar fasciitis. The Celtics remain confident that he will be fully cleared for training camp.
Porzingis is still with the Latvian national team as it continues its improbable World Cup run, but the Celtics medical staff has been receiving daily updates on his progress and there have been no signs of setbacks. Latvia faces Germany in a quarterfinal Wednesday.
▪ Yes, that was Jaylen Brown playing in the BIG3 All-Star Game in London Aug. 26, making him the first active NBA player to take part in a BIG3 event. It was certainly unusual, and some fans seemed concerned about the $304 million man risking his health.
But Brown appeared well aware of the situation, as he mostly walked around the court in the half-court event and fired up a few harmless jump shots. It was probably less risky than a regular preseason workout.
▪ It won’t really matter since the Celtics will just rest their good players when they need to, but it’s still a bit odd that they will start the preseason by playing three games in four nights.
▪ In case you missed it, Maine’s Cooper Flagg, an elite high school basketball prospect, recently reclassified from the class of 2025 to 2024. That will make Flagg, a senior at Montverde Academy in Florida, eligible for the 2025 NBA draft.