SALEM, N.H. — Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca was on the phone with president of basketball operations Danny Ainge when he first got word that guard Kemba Walker could be a potential free agent acquisition this offseason.
“I almost crashed my car when I heard that,” Pagliuca said Friday.
Walker, who inked a four-year, $141 million deal in June, is one of several new faces in Boston that have Pagliuca excited for the upcoming season. Joining him are four draft picks — Romeo Langford, Grant Williams, Carsen Edwards, and Tremont Waters — as well as two centers, Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier.
Undrafted big man Tacko Fall also has been around, having signed an Exhibit 10 contract in July. Fall, who captivated fans at Summer League, will participate in training camp in hopes of claiming the final roster spot. So far, Pagliuca likes what he sees.
“Tacko’s a force of nature,” he said. “He’s a very gentle soul. He’s had a great team effect already. Everybody’s rooting for Tacko. It’s going to be great to see him play.”
On Friday, Pagliuca got to witness the 7-foot-7-inch Senegal native in action in a different capacity. Joined by Edwards and Williams, Fall spent the day at Canobie Lake Park with 50 kids from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Towering over the rest of the group, he caught the attention of nearly every passing visitor — some of whom called out to him with a smile. Fall’s height proved to be no problem for the log flume or the teacups, as he happily experienced a few of the rides with the children.
“I always like to do this kind of stuff,” Fall said. “I know some of these kids have gone through a lot, more than we may ever know. It’s always good for them to be around positivity.”
Fall and the rookies will continue to get settled in Boston, while Walker, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Jayson Tatum train out west with Team USA ahead of the World Cup. Pagliuca noted that forward Gordon Hayward has also stayed closeby, often working out at the Auerbach Center.
“There’s just really a positive attitude from everybody this year,” Pagliuca said. “We’ve got a bunch of hard-working players that really want to achieve. We couldn’t ask for anything more.”
While there’s no question the lofty expectations from last season have certainly declined, Pagliuca is hopeful this team can still be a contender.
“We’re not going into the year where there’s kind of a clear favorite that everybody has to beat,” he said. “There are probably six or eight teams that everybody has to beat, and hopefully we’re one of them. It’s going to be one of the most balanced and fun seasons we’ve seen in our whole regime.”