Collins, two guards on board
LAS VEGAS — Center Jason Collins, guard Jamar Smith, and guard Dionte Christmas have agreed to contracts with the Celtics and will join the team for training camp, according to team sources. Collins, 33, played for Atlanta last season, his fourth team in an 11-year career.
Smith, who is with the Celtics’ summer league entry, played with BK Prostejov in the Czech Republic last season after leading the Maine Red Claws in 3-pointers with 105 in the D League in the 2010-11 season. Smith went 0 for 6 in the Celtics’ 92-77 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday.
“He’s a knockdown shooter,” Celtics assistant coach Tyronn Lue said of Smith. “The only thing I get on him for is when he passes up a shot. I don’t care if he misses 15 in a row — if you’re open shoot the ball.
“He’s more of a combo guard, he can handle the ball, but he’s really also a great shooter. So, any time he has an open shot we want him to shoot it.”
Courtney Lee, recently acquired by the Celtics in a three-way, five-player trade, is expected to contend for a starting position this season. But the deal did not help Boston’s summer league team. After losing JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, and Sean Williams in the deal (which also included Sasha Pavlovic), the Celtics lost their final three games to finish 6-4.
“They sabotaged my lineup, traded away my players,” Lue joked after the game against the Clippers. “We only had eight or nine guys, guys got tired, and we didn’t have the same energy we’ve been playing with. That’s part of the NBA, that’s how it works.’’
Jonathan Gibson had 14 points and Jared Sullinger 13 for the Celtics. Adam Morrison had 26 for the Clippers.
Sullinger had one rebound against the Clippers, but finished among the leaders in the Las Vegas portion of the summer league with an 8.6 average.
“I love his rebounding ability, he has a great knack for the ball,” Lue said. “We have to get him in a little better shape. I just think he has a chance to be like a Zach Randolph-type player, play below the rim, but a soft touch, can shoot it a little bit. I can see that, he can use his body like that.”
Sullinger, 20, was able to compete against older, taller opponents.
Sullinger on the physical challenges of the summer league: “Ice. What’s that Vanilla Ice [lyric]? Ice, ice, baby. That’s what it’s all about, get your rest and eat right. Everything was fine. Rest up and get ready for the season, that’s about it.”
Sullinger was effective on the low post. “Even though we lost, I think as a team we played well,” he said. “Free throws – they’re free for a reason. I’ve just got to keep battling down there. As long as I keep battling, I’ll get to the line. That’s part of my game, rebounding. As long as you rebound you’re always going to have a job around here. That’s my whole [thing], to keep my job, my occupation. Rebounding is going to be the mainstay around here.”
Rajon Rondo’s first appearance on the Celtics’ bench got mixed results.
“It was good for Rondo to come in and support the young guys,” Lue said, “come around and encourage guys, speaking up in timeouts. It’s good encouragement for them.”
But Rondo might not have said all the right things during the Celtics’ final timeout during an 88-87 loss to Milwaukee Saturday night. The Celtics had possession with 5.4 seconds left, when Lue set up an inbounds play, only to be overruled by Rondo.
“Rondo talked me out of the play,” Lue said. “He changed the play. Yeah, like always.”
Sullinger missed on a contested runner in the lane at the buzzer.
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.