“July 1 just has to roll over on the calendar, and we’ll sign him,” Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge told Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “He wants to be here, and we want him here.”
Zizic was the No. 23 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He was one of Boston’s three first-round selections, along with Jaylen Brown (No. 3 overall) and Guerschon Yabusele (No. 16 overall).
Bringing a young player from overseas just one year after drafting him normally is a bit soon, but Zizic has a skill the C’s sorely lack: rebounding.
“I go on every rebound, so I think I can help on that, for sure I can,” Zizic told Himmelsbach. “I can grab some bonus rebounds. I have a great work ethic and always will give my maximum.”
The Celtics could target a big man in free agency to provide more rebounding, but if they can’t swing a deal for a veteran, Zizic could fill the void. And one of the best parts for the Celtics is he’ll be on a rookie scale contract, which would help maintain Boston’s flexibility to make major moves in the trade or free-agent markets.
There’s a lot to like about Zizic’s game, and the best way for him to develop is to play against the best players in the world. It sounds like he’ll get that chance sooner rather than later.
Thumbnail photo via Jerry Lai/USA TODAY Sports Images