When the Indiana Pacers waived Daniel Theis, the Boston Celtics had the chance to bring him back for a third stint. Instead, he joined the Los Angeles Clippers. After the Clippers blew out the Celtics on January 27, Theis told MassLive’s Brian Robb that he talked with multiple Celtics players.
“Obviously, I had a couple of conversations (with Boston),” Theis told Robb in a January 27 story. “I talked to Jayson (Tatum) a little bit there with Jaylen (Brown). But, like I said, the Clippers were pretty fast (and) gave me the right chance at the right time.”
Theis then explained why he didn’t fit with the Pacers and what his motivation was.
“So, for me, it was just all about getting back on the court. Indiana just wasn’t right for me. It wasn’t a fit. For me, it was just getting back on the court as quick as I can and just compete out there and enjoy basketball.”
Had Theis come back, he would have been third on the Celtics’ depth chart behind Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford. That would not have guaranteed him a consistent role in the rotation. When ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Pacers waived Theis and that the Clippers planned to pick him up once he cleared waivers, Mason Plumlee sprained his MCL.
Plumlee’s injury paved the way for Theis to find consistent playing time. While Plumlee has since returned, Ivica Zubac has been sidelined. His injury has given Theis more opportunity to play, which is what he wanted.
Daniel Theis Explains ‘Easy’ Clippers Fit
After the Clippers beat the Celtics, Theis also delved into why his fit with the Clippers has been so seamless.
“It’s pretty easy,” Theis told Robb. “Obviously, playing off all those guys we have, it’s easy to find a spot for me playing off-ball. Sometimes it’s the dunker spot, sometimes it’s corner spacing. I think it’s just for us, in the beginning, just figuring out how to play with each other, like all of them on the court, find the spots, find the right spots, and then our defense in the half-court is pretty good too.”
The Clippers were 3-7 before adding Theis, and they are now 30-14, meaning they’ve gone 27-7. Theis isn’t single-handedly responsible for that, but he is responsible for doing his part in helping them while they’ve dealt with frontcourt injuries.
Celtics Could Bring Daniel Theis Back in Offseason
From the horse’s mouth, Theis said that his former teammates reached out to him about a potential third stint with the Celtics. That indicates they liked playing with him before and would like to play with him again. Even though he chose the Clippers, he entertained the notion of returning to Boston.
Had Theis come back, he would have had to compete with Luke Kornet and Neemias Queta for minutes. However, they may not be the team when next season comes around. Kornet and Queta will head into the offseason as free agents, as will Theis.
With how they’ve delicately handled Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford during the 2023-24, Boston may hold some appeal to Theis as a third big. He would find opportunities to play when the Celtics have one or both of Porzingis and Horford inactive.
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