The Celtics on Monday filled their final roster spot by signing former Boston University forward John Holland, who had been playing for the Canton Charge of the NBADL. It is a two-year contract with next season being non-guaranteed.
In 27 games with the Charge this year, the 6-foot-5-inch Holland averaged 16 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Last week the Charge upset the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, in the opening round of the playoffs, and Holland averaged 28.5 points and made 10 of 17 3-pointers over the two games.
“He did really well in the D-League playoffs against the Red Claws, but we’ve had our eyes on John since he was at Boston University,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. “He’s had good worldwide basketball experience, he’s at a good age and stage in his career. He’s a terrific shooter and he’s a good, versatile wing player that can play multiple positions.”
Holland said was getting ready to take a nap on Sunday when his agent called and said that the Celtics were interested.
“I was in the D-League hoping somebody would take notice, and I’m glad that it happened,” he said. “I’m just grateful to be here and trying to do whatever I can to help the Celtics. I know it’s Game 81, but I want to do whatever I can.”
Since Holland was not waived by an NBA team after March 1, he will be eligible to play for the Celtics in this season’s playoffs. Boston has had an open roster spot since declining to sign forward Coty Clarke when his second 10-day contract expired on March 27.
In 2011, Holland led BU to the NCAA Tournament and was named the America East player of the year. After going undrafted, he played professionally in France, Spain, and Turkey, had several NBA summer league stints, and spent part of training camp with the Spurs in 2014 before being waived.
The shooting guard said that during his time at BU he attended just one Celtics game, but that he was well aware of the franchise’s tradition and he remembered the parade after the team won the NBA title in 2008, his freshman year. Now, he said, it feels “surreal” to put on a Boston jersey.
“Of course I believed that it could happen,” Holland said of his long journey. “That’s what you’re down [in the D-League] for. When I got the call from the Celtics, I’m just happy to be a good teammate and just do whatever I can to help the team win.”
“If you looked at the playoffs in the East, and the playoffs involve getting the ball to someone in the fourth quarter, you’d start with LeBron [James] and probably go to [Dwyane] Wade, the next two guys you would want on your team would be Isaiah Thomas and [Raptors guard DeMar] DeRozan,” Clifford said before his team’s 114-100 rout of the Celtics. “[Thomas is] that good, and he’s not guardable with any one player. Plus, he’s getting to the basket and drawing fouls a lot more than he did before.”