JUST IN: Celtics Star Player Confident In Health After Missing FIBA World Cup Due Do Injury

In an interview with Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (video link), new Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis said he’s excited to be with a team that has a chance to win a title.

Porzingis has only been to the playoffs twice in his eight NBA seasons, and his team lost in the first round both times. He had to exercise his option for the upcoming season so the trade that sent him from Washington to Boston could be completed, and he’s convinced that he made the right choice.

“It feels like, at this point in my career, this is what I really wanted, to be able to try to win it all, and especially wearing these colors and this organization, which is, as I keep saying, if not the most iconic than top two most iconic franchises there are,” Porzingis said. “And I’m playing for this team. So it’s absolutely incredible. An incredible opportunity for me, and I’m just grateful for it all.”

Porzingis appeared headed for stardom when he entered the NBA, but injuries have slowed him down throughout his career. He played in 65 games for the Wizards last season, his highest total since 2016/17, but a new concern cropped up this summer when Porzingis had to miss the World Cup tournament because of plantar fasciitis. He said his foot feels fine now and he credits team doctors with helping him to manage the pain.

“The medical staff did an incredible job of loading slowly,” Porzingis said. “I wanted to go right away as soon as I got here to play pick-up the first day. But they held me back a little bit. I listened to them and it’s been going perfect, ready for training camp and ready to go.”

There’s more from Boston:

Kiszla: "No way will Derrick White ever sniff any part of the NBA Finals."  Well, well, well. Look at White now.

Derrick White and Jrue Holiday could form the league’s best defensive backcourt, observes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. He points out that the Celtics’ defense was 4.5 points per 100 possessions better with White on the court last season, while Holiday made Milwaukee’s defense 4.1 points per 100 possessions better whenever he played.

“It’s fun,” Holiday said of playing alongside White. “I think the chemistry is there. Even just the first few days of training camp talking to him about what he likes to do defensively, or even just asking him about certain things. But getting out there and actually being able to play with him a bit more, getting that court time has been good for us.”

Coach Joe Mazzulla is thrilled to have Jeff Van Gundy serving as a consultant to the team, per Souichi Terada of MassLive. Mazzulla said Van Gundy has already proven to be valuable in his short time with the organization and he plans to seek his advice on coaching questions throughout the season.

The Celtics will likely keep Neemias Queta on a two-way contract for a while even if he plays well to start the season, Brian Robb of MassLive states in a mailbag column. Queta can appear in up to 50 games on the two-way deal and the team can convert it to a standard contract later on.

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