WALTHAM — Forward Jared Sullinger practiced with the Celtics here Monday hours after domestic violence charges against him were dismissed in Waltham District Court.
The charges, which included assault and battery, destruction of property, and witness intimidation, stemmed from an altercation Sullinger had with his girlfriend in August at his Waltham apartment.
Sullinger was not made available to reporters after practice. Coach Brad Stevens said team officials would sit down with Sullinger to determine what, if any, punishment would be levied against him now that the case has been closed.
The charges were dismissed after Sullinger’s girlfriend, Deann Smith, told authorities that she would not testify against him. Smith repeatedly had asked that the criminal charges be dismissed since the Aug. 31 altercation.
“Obviously, it’s a really tough situation,” Stevens said. “And it’s one in which, like I said earlier, we were all really disappointed when we heard of those allegations against him. We’ll move forward appropriately, but he was here and he did practice today.”
Stevens said he didn’t think Sullinger acted any differently during practice.
“I think the whole process has obviously been tough for him, but he didn’t seem necessarily any different today,” Stevens said. “I just think he continues to have to get better on the court while really becoming the best person that he can be as well, and really prioritizing learning from what he’s been through.”
Lineup is fluid
Stevens used a different starting five in each of the last four preseason games, and he said he really doesn’t know which one he will use when the Celtics open their regular season Wednesday against the Raptors in Toronto.
“I’ve got an idea,” he said. “It could be anything from what we started the other day to making a change or depending on how tomorrow’s practice goes.”
The Celtics even could change their lineup based on which team they’re playing. Stevens acknowledged that possibility, but he didn’t seem to be a fan of changing lineups all that often.
“I’m not usually of that ilk,” Stevens said. “I think I’d rather have people adjust to us than us adjust to them.”
“It can really go day to day,” he added. “Just when you think you’ve got one established, they’re not as fluid or they’re not as successful. We’ve got to continue to focus on the good things that are happening and figure out who’s going to be the most consistent.”
Guard Courtney Lee said Stevens hasn’t discussed roles yet.
“Everybody has a good sense of what their role is going to be,” Lee said. “Coach has given everybody freedom to go out there and play; just don’t get out of character. That’s all. As far as just sitting down and establishing roles, we haven’t had that conversation.”
Veteran swingman Gerald Wallace (left ankle) participated after missing the last two practices and said he feels fine. Wallace, the biggest Red Sox fan on the Celtics, was still fuming about the controversial obstruction call that ended Game 3. “I got a conference call with the Major League Baseball commissioner,” he joked. “We’re trying to get that game thrown out right now. Hopefully we win [Game 5], and we won’t even have to worry about it.”
It’s all new
Wednesday will mark Stevens’s first NBA regular-season game as a head coach. Is he nervous? “You know, when I coached my first game as a head coach, that was a little bit different,” the 37-year-old said. “Being a head coach and having a chance to do eight dress rehearsals has probably eased the nerves.” Wallace said there is intrigue around not only Stevens but how the rest of the team, with new parts and learning a new system, will fare. “It’s going to be exciting how the season starts off,” Wallace said. “How guys are going to respond, especially in their first game — in a situation like that, to see Coach Stevens in a real NBA game and how he reacts and how he responds. It’s going to be intriguing and interesting to watch.”
Options are there
The Celtics have until Thursday night to pick up team options for next season on Sullinger and MarShon Brooks. “It’s not my role,” said Stevens, a polite nod to president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “ We haven’t talked about it. I’m just trying to figure out how we’re going to guard a couple of these [opponents] on the blocks.”
Baxter Holmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org