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Brad Stevens opens up on Al Horford, Kevin Durant, and more

Celtics coach Brad Stevens was pleased that the team secured Al Horford’s services.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/File 2015/Globe Staff/File 2015

LAS VEGAS — Celtics coach Brad Stevens had a wide-ranging interview session with reporters before the Celtics’ summer league team faced the Suns on Sunday night. He discussed the team’s signing of Al Horford, its courtship of Kevin Durant, losing Evan Turner to free agency, and much more.

On a crazy few weeks with the draft and free agency:

“I said the day before the draft, every day in the last couple of weeks, you kind of wake up and the dynamics of your team are changing and everything else. You’re trying to figure out how that’s all going to look a month and a half from now and you look into a crystal ball and, obviously, you’re getting closer to that point but there’s still the potential for more. We’ll see. We’ll just kind of see how it plays out. But it’s been a hectic couple of weeks and will continue to be, I’m sure. It’s good to be here watching some ball, that’s for sure.”

On Al Horford’s signing:

“I thought that was a really good thing. We have a great deal of respect for Al. We think he’s a really good player. He’s obviously a four-time All-Star. But beyond that, his presence in the locker room, and as a guy who’s been there, done that, to lead is really a great thing. Hey, we were excited about that. And, obviously, pretty well-documented all our travels and everything else last week. Now it’s nice after being out in Utah, back to Boston, now back here, it’s nice to be settled for a little bit. I get settled in Vegas, that’s probably the exact right way to put it.”


On how Horford is a fit:

“He’s a good fit. There’s no doubt about that. But you know what, I think that he’ll help make our other guys better. And any time you have a guy that, again, has achieved what he has achieved, he can help share a lot of tricks of the trade with others. And we still have a very young team. He’s our, I believe our, only 30-year-old — unless Jonas [Jerebko] is 30 now; Jonas and Amir [Johnson] are both 29.”


On the Celtics renouncing their qualifying offer to Jared Sullinger:

“I think Jared’s a really good player and I think Jared will continue to be a really good player. Obviously when we got Al, that made us make hard decisions. And the thing that stinks about that is having to move on and move forward, both for him and us. But he’ll do great. Jared’s one of the more talented guys being able to get the ball off the glass, and he’s got beautiful touch and he’s a good guy, and so I think he’ll do well. I’m hopeful this move will benefit him as well, and I think it will. We’ll see where he lands, but I know there’s a lot of interest in him based on how my phone’s been ringing and everybody else’s, so I’m sure he’ll land where he wants to and do exceptionally well.”

On rookie Jaylen Brown’s summer league performance:

“Time will tell. He’s 19. The bottom line is I’m watching a lot of the 19-year-olds get more comfortable as the games go on, but none of them are knocking people’s socks off right out of the gate. Obviously he’s got a great deal of talent. He’s got a great deal to learn to be effective at this level, and we’ll see. Time will tell.”

On recruiting meetings with Horford and Kevin Durant:

“This is who we are. This is what we’re about. This is how we play and this is how much I’ve enjoyed my transition to Boston, and so those are all major talking points for me. Obviously, I wasn’t the only person in the room. I felt really good about all the preparation and meetings we had last weekend. For us to be able to walk out of last weekend with an All-Star forward, it’s a heck of a weekend. Obviously with the whole Durant thing and everyone following that so closely, I was excited about what we had to sell and what we’re talking about. And I do think it’s not fallen on deaf ears.”


On how Stevens prepared for the meetings:

“You prepare in the case that you are able to get a chance to sit down with people. You’re always preparing. But that is more in a general sense, and I think the biggest thing is you talk about who you are, and certainly we show film of how we like to play and those types of things. It’s not hard to fit Al Horford and in Kevin’s sake, Kevin Durant into the scheme. That’s not the way it works. You make your scheme around guys like that. So I’m really excited about getting Al on board.”

On more roster changes:

“I don’t know. With regard to us and talks with other GMs, and talks with other organizations, I’m not really involved in those. I kind of get the second or third wind of things as they become more viable and probably don’t get a lot shared with me because it’s not viable.”


On Johnson and Jerebko returning:

“I was excited about that. Those guys are really good guys. They’re really good pros. They complement each other well. They complement the other bigs well. I think that one of the things we’re really going to try to do is fly around. And both those guys have done that. I’ve spent the last two days with Amir quite a bit, and he’s been great. We actually went over to the side gym with him and Isaiah [Thomas] yesterday, and today, and had lunch with those guys today. We’re all excited and ready to go even though it’s two-and-a-half months from now.”

On the crowded bottom of the depth chart and the importance of summer league for players to establish themselves:

“It’s really important, but we’ve had a lot more time with some of these guys than just the summer league games. But those are some of the issues you run into when you have nine picks in two drafts.”

On Thomas embracing his role as the Celtics’ primary recruiter:

“I said it about Isaiah last week: He’s passionate about the Celtics, he’s passionate about basketball, he’s passionate about life. But we have a lot of guys that I really think are that way so I’m excited again to really work with those guys since they’re excited to compete for Boston.”

On losing Evan Turner to the Trail Blazers in free agency:

“I had actually talked to Evan earlier that day and said, ‘Let’s talk again shortly.’ because he knew we were going to try to meet with Al and try to meet with Kevin. He knew that going in, Danny [Ainge] was really honest with him in that. And then, I was fortunate enough to hear about his deal right before I got on the plane. I missed his call but got a nice text from him and my son got a real nice text from him. There’s a small part of you certainly that’s sad to see guys go and sad to see guys that have been a part of this not be a part of it anymore. But I mean, come on. When I saw that and came across the deal, I was so happy for him. Knowing where he was two years ago and knowing he had come to Boston on the belief that this would be a good thing for his career — that makes you feel good.”


On how Turner improved during his time with the Celtics:

“I think he improved, but this was more about believing in who he is, and letting him know that you believe in him. I really enjoyed it. I’ve said this many times, but he didn’t come in one time and say anything about his role, or not starting, because he had started the whole year before. He just said, I’m going to play my best until my opportunities come. It’s a great lesson for our summer league players. We talk about how you never know when you’re going to get 10 minutes or 30 minutes. Evan handled it really well, and a lot of people think Evan is a good example of that.”

On the confidence that comes from finishing high in the Durant sweepstakes:

“In recruiting finishing second is as good as finishing 30th. It was great to have a chance to sit down and great to have a chance to meet. Any time you’re in the presence of a guy who has achieved that much it’s certainly great, and he probably left there saying there’s a lot of good things going on there in Boston. At the same time, hey, we have to move forward with the team that we have. We look forward to competing against him and crossing those bridges when we get there.”

Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.