The Boston Celtics continue to rebuild their frontcourt this offseason, adding Al Horford and retaining existing player Amir Johnson with a team option. The team also drafted Guerschon Yabusele who is having a good summer league experience so far. In addition, they still have decisions to make with Tyler Zeller and how to add a rebounding option next to Horford.
However, the Celtics has made shocking news when it announced that it will not retain Jared Sullinger, who is now free to sign elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent.
Celtics renounced Jared Sullinger's qualifying offer & exception rights, per NBA transaction wire on July 8. Source confirmed it's accurate.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 10, 2016
The change was devastating for Sullinger, who has fought weight and conditioning issues throughout his time in Boston, playing with a listed 260 pounds on his 6-foot-9-inch frame. A 2012 first-round draft pick by the Boston Celtics, Sullinger has averaged of 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in four seasons.
Some analysts believe that the free agent signing of Al Horford and the Celtics’ decision to exercise option on power forwards Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko, seemed to push Sullinger downward, cutting him off from the rest of the team.
However, many believe that the real issue was about Sullinger’s weight, who appeared to be heavier and slower, which made him unfit for any defensive moves. Though Sullinger had played in all six playoff games, he averaged only 5.2 points and shot 32 percent per game, which is not good enough for the resurging Celtics.
Still, many people believe that Sullinger is still worth a flyer for another team in need of a fourth big, the 24-year-old Celtics has played more than 75 games for the first time in his career, playing in 81 last season, which is a testament to his weight conditioning.
Despite some promising stretches and conditioning last season, the Celtics have already made their decision as Brad Stevens opted increasingly for smaller lineups, betting big for the more versatile and defensively players like the power forward Jae Crowder.