E’Twaun Moore, as much as the Celtics may not have wanted him to go, is going to play for someone else this year. And his departure may have paved the way for more than just Courtney Lee to join the Celtics.
Dionte Christmas is setting himself up nicely to fill a seat on the Celtics bench. He’s been playing well this summer, and Danny Ainge said yesterday that he’s trying to get Dionte in camp.
“We’ve been talking to Dionte, and we’ll continue to,” Ainge told the media outside the Thomas & Mack Center before yesterday’s matchup against Sacramento. “We’d like to see him [in camp].”
That’s a distinct possibility for Christmas. He’s played overseas, and there is very likely more short-term money for him in Europe than there is in the NBA. But he told me his number one goal now is to become an NBA player, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get there.
“At this point right now, I’m trying to get to the NBA,” Christmas said. “I think I’m very close to getting there. I would definitely consider going to the D-League if a team said ‘you go there and if somebody goes down we’ll call you up,’ I would definitely consider going to the D-League.”
The rules do allow for the Celtics to bring Christmas into camp, cut him, but assign him to the Maine Red Claws. With the C’s now owning and operating the Red Claws, it might be a way for the C’s to keep a little insurance in case one of their guards goes down mid-season.
But with the Celtics already dealing with one injury as Avery Bradley recovers from shoulder surgery, there might be an opening for Christmas to impress the Celtics enough to hang around Boston for a bit. If he does, he’ll take full advantage of that chance.
“It would be a great opportunity,” said Christmas. “You have guys like Paul Pierce, [Rajon] Rondo, Kevin Garnett. Great vets, they know the game. I can learn a lot from Paul Pierce, Jason Terry, Doc Rivers, a great coach. So that would definitely be an honor for me to go and play for those guys.”
At the very least, the Celtics are providing Christmas an opportunity to be noticed. With a smaller roster for the last two Summer League games, Dionte will have a chance to show the world his stuff. So even if it doesn’t work out with Boston, he’ll be on full display for everyone else.
“I’m on an interview for 29 other teams. So hopefully, if I can’t get on with the Celtics, I can get on with somebody else,” Christmas said yesterday after the game.
“Guys are playing for everybody, they’re not just playing for us,” said Ainge. ” There’s European guys here watching, and they know Dionte’s name.”
We all know Dionte’s name now. What he hopes is we are still mentioning it when we’re talking about the Celtics this season.
Below is the full interview with Dionte Christmas as he spoke to me and other members of the media in Las Vegas yesterday: