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New Celtic Enes Kanter can’t resist taking a shot at Kyrie Irving

New Celtics Kemba Walker (left) and Enes Kanter (right) flanked Danny Ainge as they were introduced on Wednesday.jim davis/Globe staff/Globe Staff

Last November, Nike unveiled a commercial that showed then-Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving playing one-on-one against his father in a near-empty TD Garden.

The release came just over one month after Irving announced that he intended to re-sign with Boston at season’s end, and in the ad Irving alluded to having his number retired by the Celtics someday.

“[My father] is the reason I wear No. 11,” Irving said in the voice-over, “and I want to be the reason no one else will.”

The scene ended with a camera shot from the Garden rafters. Irving, of course, ultimately decided to sign with the Nets, and his number will never be retired by Boston. But it did not take the team long to find a replacement who was happy to take a bit of a dig at the All-Star point guard.


On Wednesday center Enes Kanter officially signed his two-year deal with the Celtics, and at his joint news conference with Kemba Walker, Kanter held up the No. 11 jersey that now belongs to him.

“It was my old jersey number, by the way, No. 11,” Kanter said, before delivering his punch line. “And I wanted to be the reason nobody else will wear it.”

He paused and smiled.

“I had to say it.”

Kanter recently posted a collection of pictures on Twitter showing old No. 11 Celtics jerseys on which fans had taped over Irving’s name and written Kanter’s instead.

“Don’t burn no jerseys,” Kanter said. “I’m against wasting. So if you’re going to burn it, cover up the back.”

Walker, meanwhile, will wear No. 8 for the Celtics. He said he did not have many choices, because so many of Boston’s numbers are retired. But he settled on 8 because his birthday is May 8. Of course, former Celtics All-Star Antoine Walker wore No. 8, potentially saving some fans some money on jersey purchases. Walker said he spoke to Antoine Walker, too.


“He gave me the blessing as well, so I’m excited.”

Fall a high priority

The 7-foot-6-inch center Tacko Fall became a sensation at the Las Vegas Summer League, enchanting fans with his size, his dunks and his demeanor.

Boston recently signed Fall to an Exhibit 10 contract, which essentially means he would receive a $50,000 bonus if he agrees to join the Celtics’ G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, if he is waived after training camp. But since summer league, fans have been clamoring for Fall to be added to the Celtics’ 15-man roster, and when Guerschon Yabusele was waived last week, there was suddenly an open spot.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge was asked about Fall’s standing.

“We want to take his development very, very seriously,” Ainge said. “He’s a high priority for us to try to really develop into a player.”

Later, in an interview with NBC Sports Boston, Ainge said that Fall could have a chance of making Boston’s final roster. League sources have said that Boston intends to bring several players into training camp to battle it out for the final roster slot, and Fall could be among them.

Regardless, Ainge said he enjoyed watching Fall play in Las Vegas as much as anyone.

“Tacko is fun to watch,” he said. “He makes me laugh. Some of the plays he makes are hilarious, because you just don’t see them. Guards get in a bind and they just throw the ball up in the air, then Tacko grabs them and makes tip-toe dunks from under the basket. It’s just like a senior in high school playing against fourth graders sometimes out there. He’s a great kid. He’s working really hard.”


Fall averaged 7.2 points, 4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in just 12.6 minutes per game in summer league action.

Walker at home

Kemba Walker guided UConn to the 2011 NCAA championship, and he said memories from his time there always came back during trips to Boston, which is just 85 miles from the university’s campus.

“Yeah, every time I played against Boston, warming up at the arena I always saw a bunch of UConn jerseys,” Walker said. “When they called my name, I always got a good ovation. They didn’t boo me much. So I’m super, super excited to be back and, to not only get a chance to play in front of the Boston fans, but the UConn fans as well. Now I get a chance to see Coach [Jim] Calhoun a little more as well. So I’m excited.”

Theis re-signed

The Celtics on Wednesday officially re-signed center Daniel Theis and Brad Wanamaker. Theis previously agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal and Wanamaker agreed to a one-year minimum salary contract.

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