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Celtics add Gerald Green, re-sign Tyler Zeller — and may not be done making moves

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Tyler Zeller (above, left) agreed to a two-year deal, and Gerald Green agreed to a one-year deal with the Celtics.Winslow Townson

The Celtics started free agency with a flourish earlier this month, signing four-time All-Star Al Horford before being one of the final teams cut from the list of Kevin Durant, one of the biggest free agent prizes in NBA history.

Since then, despite being linked to potentially seismic trades, the Celtics have mostly been quiet. But there is a bit more clarity, at least for now.

According to a league source, the Celtics have agreed to a one-year contract with free agent forward Gerald Green, who spent his first two pro seasons with Boston after being selected with the 18th overall pick of the 2005 draft. The deal is for the veteran minimum of about $1.5 million, the source said.


Also, league sources said, the Celtics have re-signed center Tyler Zeller to a two-year, $16 million contract. The second year of that deal is non-guaranteed — a similar structure to the contracts signed last year by Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko — giving the Celtics added roster flexibility. Zeller had been a restricted free agent.

The Celtics are nearing an agreement on a guaranteed contract with point guard Demetrius Jackson, the 45th overall pick of last month's draft. Final details, including the length of the contract, are still being finalized, but it will be a guaranteed deal, league sources said. Lastly, Boston is close to signing former Providence forward Ben Bentil, the 51st overall pick of the draft, to a partially guaranteed deal. The contracts for Jackson and Bentil should be finalized this coming week, sources said.

A league source cautioned that these moves hardly mean that the Celtics are done for the summer. The team continues to aggressively seek trade opportunities.

"This is not necessarily what the team will be," the source said. "There's probably changes coming."

Green, 30, played for the Celtics from 2005-07, averaging 8.9 points and 2.2 rebounds. The 2007 NBA slam dunk champion spent last season with the Heat, averaging 8.9 points per game. A league source said the Celtics believe Green is very motivated, and a one-year deal for the veteran minimum would certainly seem to be a good motivator.


Although Green might not be the knockdown shooter the Celtics are seeking, he has made 36.1 percent of the 3-point attempts in his career and is certainly a good stopgap. He is more skilled and currently more able to step in and contribute than younger wings R.J. Hunter and James Young.

Zeller, 26, saw his role reduced significantly last season, as he went from playing 21.1 minutes per game in 2014-15 to 11.8 minutes per game, as the Celtics trended toward smaller, more skilled lineups. All along, though, coach Brad Stevens praised Zeller's preparedness and professionalism, and he should be an adequate backup next season.

These moves will put Boston's roster at 18 players, including the non-guaranteed contract of John Holland and the guaranteed deal of No. 3 overall pick Jaylen Brown. The group will have to be trimmed to 15 players by the start of the season.

Boston is also in discussions with second-round pick Abdel Nader, who was the surprise of the Celtics' summer league team. Several options are being discussed, a league source said, including the possibility of Nader playing for the D-League's Maine Red Claws. First-round picks Guerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic will play overseas next season.


Last year, Boston entered training camp with 16 players on guaranteed contracts before waiving forward Perry Jones III. Of course, there is a good chance that other deals this summer will alter the makeup of this team before camp begins.

As it stands, Young, Hunter, Bentil, and Holland could be in position to fight for the final roster spot, a league source said. The team is still holding out hope that Hunter or Young — if not both — could emerge as a dependable shooter, and it is also plausible that one of them could vault past Green with a stirring training camp.

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