Sunday, June 30, 2024

Report: Celtics to re-sign Luke Kornet, Neemias Queta

The Celtics will reportedly re-sign backup center Luke Kornet to a one-year deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski -- as the start of NBA free agency got underway Sunday night.

Shortly after that, Boston also agreed on a multi-year deal with big man Neemias Queta -- per a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Both signings by Brad Stevens come on the heel of Kristaps Porzingis being out 5-6 months following ankle surgery, as the Celtics will definitely need some short-term reinforcements in the frontcourt when the 2024-25 campaign begins.

Even with Al Horford dismissing retirement rumors while also confirming he'll be returning, Joe Mazzulla and his coaching staff will have to closely monitor the 38-year-old veteran's minutes just as they did this past season.

Kornet had a pretty solid 2023-24 with averages of 5.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 63 games played -- which included seven starts. The 28-year-old, seven-footer has been a valuable asset for the C's off the bench and on the cheap.

Meanwhile, Queta, who initially got his option declined by the Celtics on Saturday, will hopefully get more opportunity for development after splitting time between the G League (Maine Celtics) and the NBA this past season. The soon-to-be 25-year old put up 5.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks over 11.9 minutes per contest in 28 games played for Boston. He was another seven-foot option that stepped up for Mazzulla, especially when Horford and Porzingis were out.

With the Celtics already above the second apron of the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement, bringing back essentially the same roster is huge as they'll be limited in the free agent market this summer.

As far as the Celtics possibly bringing back unrestricted free agents Xavier Tillman and Svi Mykhailiuk, that remains to be seen after Oshae Brissett reportedly declined his player option last week to test free agency this offseason.

Stevens, however, did pick up Sam Hauser's 2024-25 team option worth $2.1 million ahead of Saturday's 5:00 p.m. deadline -- according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. The Celtics are expected to negotiate a long-term deal with the sharpshooter when he becomes extension-eligible on July 9th.

Boston could potentially offer Hauser an extension worth 140% of the estimated league salary, which could be in the ball-park of a four-year, $78 million deal.

Despite many viewing the Celtics selecting Baylor Scheierman with the No. 30 overall pick in this week's NBA Draft as a possible Hauser replacement in case a deal can't get worked out, Stevens insists that is not the case when it comes to the veteran wing.
"I'm not going to get into particulars," the Celtics president of basketball operations told reporters Friday. "I will say we want Hauser to be here. For a long time."
At 26-years-old, Hauser is considered as one of the NBA's top 3-point specialists -- finishing with averages of 9.0 points on 42.4% shooting from long distance (12th best in the league), to go along with 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game in the regular season.

In addition to Hauser, Jayson Tatum and Derrick White are also eligible for extensions this summer, which are reportedly expected to get done sooner rather than later.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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