Longtime Celtics Admirers Brogdon, Gallinari Eager to Add to Tradition

BOSTON – Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari seemed to be perfect offseason additions, in the eyes of Brad Stevens, for a Celtics team that just finished two wins shy of an NBA championship.

Spending the past 24 hours getting to know his newest acquisitions only strengthened the Celtics President of Basketball Operations’ belief in the veteran duo.

“It’s really clear how good of a fit both of these guys are,” Stevens said Tuesday morning while sitting to the left of Brogdon and Gallinari during an introductory press conference at the Auerbach Center in Brighton.

For one, they both fill needs that had become apparent during Boston’s Finals run. Stevens said he wanted to add playmaking and scoring off the bench, and that’s exactly what he’ll get in these two.

Brogdon boasts career averages of 15.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game in his six NBA seasons as a combo guard, and Gallinari has averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game over a 14-year career, during which he has established himself as one of the most prolific long-range shooters of all time at the power forward position.

Those on-court aspects are obvious when it comes to fit, but what assured Stevens even more over the past day or so was how they expressed their collective mindset as competitors who only care about winning at this point in their respective careers.

“For me, at this stage of my career when you think about basketball, you think about winning, getting that ring, and it’s a constant, constant thought that I have every day,” said Gallinari. “It’s that time for me. It’s always been about winning for me even when I was younger, it was always about winning. Especially right now when you get at this stage where you’re 33 about to be 34, it’s what you want and it’s something that you work for every day.”

Although Brogdon has only played in the NBA for less than half as many years as Gallinari, his hunger is just as strong.

“I’m in my prime, I’m 29 years old,” explained Brogdon, who was aquired Saturday in a trade with the Indiana Pacers. “I experienced winning at a high level in Milwaukee my first three years, went to Indiana, had a solid season and then two rough seasons (winning-wise). So this is everything I’ve wanted: to be able to get back to this level, to be able to compete with guys that want to win a championship and that are all in, that want to sacrifice to win. So it’s very fortuitous for me to be here and I think it’s the perfect time for me.”

It's also perfect considering their ties to the Celtics, both being raised by families that were supporters of Boston’s basketball team.

Brogdon’s late grandfather was a diehard Celtics fan, supporting them all the way back to their glory days.

“He was the biggest Bill Russell fan, was the biggest (Red) Auerbach fan, and loved the Boston Celtics,” said the former Rookie of the Year. “So to be able to play here is definitely a blessing for me. I've told everybody I've met in the organization that it's an honor to put on his jersey, it's a privilege. The most historic, successful, high-reaching organization in the league, so I'm extremely excited to be here.”

Gallinari was just as excited to join the C’s via free agency after idolizing Larry Bird while growing up in Italy.

“I grew up with my dad since I was a little kid being a Celtics fan, being a Larry Bird fan,” Gallinari said. “When the Celtics came on the table it was almost like a no-brainer. You walk even in this facility, you look around and see what’s going on around the banners and the history and everything the Celtics were about, it was an easy choice.”

Both Gallinari and Brogdon felt it was an easy choice regardless of whether or not they’ll be starting or coming off the bench because, at this stage of their respective careers, they’ll do anything to win.

“I want to come here and sacrifice to win,” said Brogdon. “On a great team, everybody sacrifices to win. (Jayson) Tatum, (Jaylen) Brown, all of us have to take things off our plate and sacrifice a few things.

“So for me, I think Gallinari too, we're trying to add. We're not trying to take away. This team already has something special, they've made it to the Finals, and they already have a recipe. And I want to add to that recipe, not disrupt it. Whatever this team needs from me, whatever Ime (Udoka) needs from me, whatever my teammates need for me, that's what I’m gonna do.”

That’s what’s called a championship mindset. Both Brogdon and Gallinari have it, and it’s all part of the reason that makes them perfect fits for this title-contending Celtics team.

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