Report: Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger Unlikely To Sign New Celtics Contracts Before Deadline

by abournenesn

Oct 23, 2015

The Boston Celtics need to decide on center Tyler Zeller and power forward Jared Sullinger’s futures at some point, but we probably won’t see a resolution with either player in the short term.

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, “there is nothing new to report” on the status of both players‘ contracts. The deadline for the Celtics to sign them to extensions is Oct. 31, and Bulpett reported Friday, citing league sources, that “the Celts are really only interested in locking up the pair if they can get a deal that is very favorable to the club.”

This is a smart play by Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, one reason being that neither Zeller nor Sullinger has done enough to receive a lucrative extension at this time. Both players have the potential to be key contributors, but they still have yet to earn it.

Zeller and Sullinger would become restricted free agents if unsigned when NBA free agency begins next July.

Zeller probably will begin the season as Boston’s starting center, a position he filled for 59 games in 2014-15. He set or tied career highs in points (10.2), rebounds (5.7), field-goal percentage (.549) and free-throw percentage (.823) in his first campaign with the Celts.

Still, Zeller is not a great rebounder, lacks a refined low-post offensive game, and his rim protection, while not bad, is not overly impressive. He blocked just 0.6 shots per game a season ago.

Sullinger, meanwhile, needs to be a more consistent player. He handles himself well in the paint at the offensive end and has extended his shooting range all the way to the 3-point line. When he’s healthy and in shape, the former Ohio State star can be quite effective.

Sullinger has plenty of motivation entering this season. In addition to playing for a new contract, he needs to play well just to see the floor. Celtics coach Brad Stevens has a cornucopia of big men at his disposal after the team acquired David Lee and Amir Johnson over the offseason.

Sullinger’s 16 points and eight rebounds in Thursday night’s preseason win over the New York Knicks helped his case to be a regular member of the rotation, and now he needs to prove he’s capable of giving that type of performance on a consistent basis.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Dec 31, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics center Tyler Zeller (44) high fives Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger (7) as Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) holds the ball after a Boston basket during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Shaq Mason
Previous Article

Patriots Practice Report: Shaq Mason Returns To Field; Three Remain Out

Gregg Popovich
Next Article

Gregg Popovich To Replace Mike Krzyzewski As USA Basketball Coach In 2017

Picked For You