Celtics rookie Abdel Nader will sign with the D-League’s Maine Red Claws this season, according to Nader’s agent, Cervando Tejeda.
The Celtics selected the little-known Iowa State forward with the 58th pick of this year’s draft, and their belief was that he had agreed to be a “domestic draft-and-stash” player, meaning he would sign with the Red Claws and that Boston would retain his rights.
But there was some uncertainty in Nader’s camp about that agreement. Then Nader thrived during the Las Vegas summer league in July, scoring 64 points over five games while showing a smooth 3-point shot and defensive versatility, and his reluctance to go directly to the D-League intensified.
The problem for Nader, though, is that Boston’s roster is already crowded, with 18 players — three above the league maximum — already under contract.
If Nader came to training camp but did not make the final roster, he would be released and become a free agent, which would clearly not be ideal for Boston, the team that had shown enough faith to draft him.
The Celtics had to extend a required tender to Nader by Sept. 10 — typically a one-year, nonguaranteed deal — with the expectation that he would decline the offer, therefore allowing the Celtics to maintain his draft rights for another year. Tejeda said that Nader did have a strong offer from at least one European club, but that ultimately he believes his clearest path to the NBA will come by sticking with Boston.
“He wants to stay committed to the Celtics,” Tejeda said.