The Celtics likely will have the most intriguing summer league team in Utah and Las Vegas when play begins next month. In addition to adding the No. 1 overall pick and potentially three second-round choices, director of player personnel Austin Ainge said Boston’s core of returning players is expected to include Jaylen Brown, Jordan Mickey, Ante Zizic and Demetrius Jackson, among others.
“I think the young roster guys, I think [coach Brad Stevens] is still deciding exactly on,” Ainge said. “But I think we can expect Demetrius and Jordan, and Jaylen some.”
Mickey, a third-year forward, has a non-guaranteed deal next season, and Jackson, a second-year point guard, has a partially guaranteed contract. But neither deal is expected to become fully guaranteed until the end of summer league play, and if both parties agree, that guarantee date can be changed.
Brown, who averaged 6.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in his rookie season, made it clear less than an hour after Boston’s season ended in the Eastern Conference finals that he intended to take part in summer league. Ainge said it has yet to be determined how many games Brown will play.
Ainge said that Zizic, last year’s No. 23 overall pick, is expected to arrive in Boston a few days before the team’s summer practices start later this month. Zizic spent this season playing for a Turkish club in the high-level Euroleague.
Forward Abdel Nader, the 58th pick of last June’s draft who was named the D-League rookie of the year this season, will also be on the summer league roster, Ainge said.
But 6-foot-9-inch forward Guerschon Yabusele remains sidelined after undergoing surgery last month to have bone spurs removed from his ankles. Ainge said that Yabusele will not accompany the team during summer league play, instead remaining in Boston to maintain his rehabilitation schedule.
“Traveling would make that hard,” Ainge said.
The Celtics will play the 76ers, Jazz and Spurs in the Utah Jazz summer league, which runs from July 3-6. Then the team will depart for Las Vegas, where it will open play on July 8 against the Lakers. Los Angeles holds the No. 2 overall pick in next week’s draft, so the game could be a matchup that pits presumptive No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz against another former Pac-12 point guard, Lonzo Ball.
The Celtics will face the Blazers on July 9 and the 76ers on July 11 before beginning the Las Vegas summer league playoffs.
Ainge said the Celtics have agreements with other international and D-League players to join their summer league roster, but he declined to name them because those decisions often remain fluid until the draft unfolds and rosters are more set.
“Like, sometimes we’ll draft a power forward, and so the power forward who’s committed will find another team,” Ainge said. “It’ll all change so much.”
Russell to be honored
Celtics legend Bill Russell achieved many accolades during and after his illustrious playing career. He is a Basketball Hall of Famer, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, an 11-time NBA champion, and he was the first African-American to coach a major professional sports team in the United States.
On June 26, Russell’s groundbreaking career will be honored again, as he will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the first NBA Awards show.
As a player, Russell was the first to win an NCAA championship, an NBA championship, and an Olympic gold medal. He was named Finals MVP five times and was a 12-time All-Star. He was an accomplished shot blocker who helped revolutionize defensive concepts.
Off the court, Russell was active in the civil rights movement, participating in the 1963 March on Washington. After civil rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson, Miss., in 1963, Russell flew down to lead the city’s first integrated basketball camps. Russell also came to the defense of Muhammad Ali when the prizefighter refused to serve in the military during the Vietnam War because of his religious beliefs.
The NBA Awards show, to be held at Basketball City at Pier 36 in New York, will be hosted by Drake and televised on TNT. The league MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year awards, among others, will be presented during the show.