Kemba Walker now will share the Boston Celtics’ locker room with a longtime opponent.
The Celtics, as you’ve certainly heard by now, officially signed veteran free agent Jeff Teague earlier this week. Teague likely will serve as the Celtics’ backup point guard to Walker, but could see an increased role early in the season as Walker works his way back from a knee injury.
Teague was a first-round pick in 2009, two years prior to when Walker entered the league as a first rounder himself. The two had many Eastern Conference clashes when Teague was with the Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers, all while Walker was with the Charlotte Hornets. It means Walker has seen Teague up close throughout much of the last decade, and now the Celtics’ All-Star point guard is happy to have him as a teammate.
“Yeah, I’m excited to have Jeff. I’m excited to have Jeff,” Walker told reporters Wednesday. “…But to have Jeff, after losing Brad (Wanamaker) to bring in Jeff, is huge. He’s guy who, he’s been around. He knows what it takes to win games in this league. Me and him personally have had a lot of battles over the years, especially when I first started to thrive in the league, he was really at his best.
“So, I’m excited to be his teammate, still learn from him because he is a little bit older than me, and he’s been around longer,” Walker continued. “Yeah, I’m excited.”
Walker isn’t the only one pleased with the addition of Teague either. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens expressed much of the same Tuesday, while explaining how Teague will fit in during the early going amid Walker’s absence. Fellow teammate Jayson Tatum is excited about the veteran presence the former NBA All-Star will bring, as well.
Teague started 17 of his 59 games played last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Hawks. He averaged 11 points and five assists during the campaign.