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Boston Celtics exercise Guerschon Yabusele’s 2019 option: Brad Stevens believes upside is high

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics made a somewhat surprising decision to exercise Guerschon Yabusele’s option on Wednesday, committing (barring a trade) to Yabusele for $3.1 million next season.

Asked about Yabusele on Thursday at Celtics shootaround, Brad Stevens said the decision was made by the front office, but he’s happy to have Yabusele back.

“Whenever I’m asked for my opinion — which I obviously was with all of those guys — I think Guerschon has a high upside,” Stevens said. “I think Guerschon is 22 years old and has played in a group with a lot of accomplished 4s and 5s and there haven’t been a lot of minutes. We’ve had a chance to see his development up close in practice.”

Yabusele, who played his first season in Boston last year after being drafted 16th in 2016, has shown brief flashes of excellent footwork and a unique physical presence. How the Celtics will find minutes for him — with Al Horford, Aron Baynes and Daniel Theis all ahead of him at center, and Robert Williams also making a strong case for playing time — isn’t exactly clear, but the Celtics have seen the importance of depth repeatedly over the past two years. 

If Yabusele develops, he could offer cheap production next season, and the Celtics will be staring at a massive luxury tax bill. Any cheap production they can find will be very valuable.

“Again, he’s young and when you have his ability to move with his skill set and knowledge of how to play, it makes a lot of sense and fits the modern NBA,” Stevens said. “We’re excited to have him back. His opportunities certainly will come and go this year if we continue to stay healthy, but we think he’s a got a bright upside and a bright future.”

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