The Boston Celtics have begun preliminary talks about potential contract extensions for big men Jared Sullinger and Tyler Zeller, according to president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
?Obviously, those are two guys that we like moving forward,? Ainge told The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach on Monday. ?So, yeah, there will be more discussions with both of them, probably during the month of October.?
Sullinger and Zeller both are entering the final year of their respective rookie contracts and are eligible to sign extensions at any point before the Oct. 31 deadline. If either does not agree to terms on an extension before that date, he will become a restricted free agent next summer.
An extension appears especially unlikely for Sullinger, whose weight and conditioning remain concerns for the Celtics. A foot injury limited the 23-year-old to 58 games last season, and Ainge publicly questioned Sullinger’s commitment to fitness on several occasions. Still, Sullinger showed plenty of potential when healthy, averaging 13.3 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds per game in his third NBA season.
Zeller, acquired last summer in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, was a pleasant surprise to many in his first season in Boston. He played in all 82 games and started 59, averaging 10.2 points and 5.7 boards to go with a team-best 54.9 shooting percentage.
It will be interesting, however, to see how both players’ roles change this season following the additions of fellow big men Amir Johnson and David Lee, as well as the re-signings of forwards Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko.
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