Rookies get business class
October, 17, 2012
By Greg Payne | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- The Celtics' rookies got their first dose of the business side of the NBA on Tuesday when it was announced that Boston had waived first-year guards Dionte Christmas and Jamar Smith.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/GettyDionte Christmas was one of two players cut by the Celtics on Tuesday.
While the cuts themselves might not have been terribly surprising, rookies Jared Sullinger, Kris Joseph, and Fab Melo had been playing with Smith and Christmas since July, when they teamed up for summer leagues in Orlando and Las Vegas. Factor in them also going through the informal summer workouts together and comprising the same unit at times throughout the opening weeks of training camp, and it's easy to see how the rookies may have boasted stronger relationships with Christmas and Smith than some of the other veterans in the locker room.
"It's tough, because you build relationships with those guys," Joseph said. "Especially Jamar and I. We really built a good relationship, camaraderie, on and off the court. And just to know that they put in just as much work as me, and they've been working just as hard, and to see them go, it's tough. But, that's just the nature of the business."
Joseph wasn't the only one to allude to the business part of the decision. Sullinger and Melo also noted that the transaction side of the NBA is a part of the game that they have to adjust to quickly.
"Yeah, it's tough to see them go, but we know it's part of the business," Melo said. "They knew that. It's part of the business. Got to get used to things like that."
Added Sullinger: "Yeah, it's really tough. Coming in here early, working out early, getting accustomed to the Boston life and then seeing them go, it's really tough. But at the same time, it's a business, so you've got to do what's best for the Boston Celtics, and obviously the Boston Celtics decided to go another way. But, at the same time, that's behind us, we've got to look forward and continue to get better as a basketball team."
Melo and Sullinger had already spoken with Christmas and Smith by the time Tuesday's game ended, while Joseph said he was going to reach out to them as well. Melo said they were both in good spirits and were already focusing on the next step in their basketball careers.
"I reached out to them. I said, 'I'm sorry to hear,'" said Sullinger. "I gave them my best and I told them wherever they go, I'm going to support them and we're going to stay in touch."