The Celtics last week signed veteran point guard Shane Larkin to a one-year deal, meaning they are in position to enter training camp with 16 guaranteed contracts. That number will need to be whittled to 15 by the start of the regular season, but it has become a familiar approach for the franchise.
Boston had 16 players on guaranteed deals in training camp two seasons ago before Perry Jones III was waived. They had 16 guaranteed contracts last year, too, as James Young ultimately beat out R.J. Hunter for the final roster spot.
“It’s not ideal, because some guaranteed money gets thrown out,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. “But I think it gives us an opportunity to have competition, but also see more players we’ve followed and watched and looked at. And it’s another good indication that ownership is really willing to spend money to give us these luxuries, these opportunities to see more players. It speaks a lot to them as much as anything.”
Last season, Larkin averaged 13.6 points, 5.3 assists, and 3 rebounds per game for the Spanish club Baskonia, which competes in the Euroleague. The 5-foot-11-inch point guard was selected with the 18th pick of the 2013 draft and averaged 5.8 points and 3.2 assists over three NBA seasons with the Mavericks, Knicks, and Nets.
“Shane, we felt like, was one of the best players in Europe this year,” Ainge said. “He’s really improved his playmaking abilities and we thought he had a terrific year. He has great speed and he’s a terrific shooter. We think he’s a better shooter than his numbers indicate. So we just really like his speed and his ability to get into the paint.”
The Celtics last week officially signed German forward Daniel Theis. The 25-year-old averaged 9.5 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 61.8 percent from the floor for the Euroleague team Brose Bamberg last season.
“He’s at a good age,” Ainge said. “He’s 25 years old, he’s coming off three good years in Germany. He’s a tough kid. He’s got good athleticism. He can make a 3-point shot and he’s a versatile kid. He’s just a good, athletic, hard-playing kid.”