Daniel Theis in the NBA with Boston Celtics in the playoffs

ONEWhen Daniel Theis learned two months ago that his career in the best basketball league in the world had taken a surprising turn, he was faced with a panorama of emotions: “I don’t want to say I was shocked, but I was relieved and happy,” he said. the international, when he returned to the Boston Celtics after a year of stints in Chicago and Houston. Certainly, the team that brought him from the Bundesliga to the NBA in 2017 and where he stood out as a reliable and enthusiastic center ditched him in a typical American sports trade nearly a year ago.

But there was something about the process that former team coach Brad Stevens must have regretted at some point. From his point of view, a solid, physically strong and selfless hardworking guy like 30-year-old Theis has always been an important tool: “He makes our best players better,” Stevens said when asked why he was 2.06 meters tall. height – man brought back.

Two other Germans involved in the business

Theis liked the constellation. He quickly brushed aside questions as to why. This is the flip side of the glamorous life of a professional athlete in America: money always plays a role, and with it the many subtleties of collective bargaining rules with their wage brakes, such as the salary cap and the so-called luxury tax that teams have to pay as soon as you exceed the maximum limit. “It’s purely business. This isn’t against you personally. That’s why I don’t hold a grudge against anyone.”

Besides the fact that – just coming back – he’d already developed the feeling that he’d never walked away. And that he’d signed a respectable new deal with the Chicago Bulls along the way: $35.6 million guaranteed gross, four-year term, nearly double per season than the previous period. Many of his teammates were still there, and just before his return to Boston, they were back in full force, having catapulted himself into the upper echelons of the Eastern Conference with a nine-game winning streak between January and February. The Celtics start this Sunday (21:30 CEST on DAZN) in second place against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs and are happy that Theis is available. Center Robert Williams needed meniscus surgery two weeks ago and could miss the entire best-of-seven series.

Meanwhile in Houston with the Rockets: Dennis Schröder (left), once the German NBA star

Image: USA TODAY Sports

Incidentally, Theis crossed paths twice with fellow German national teammates on his NBA tour. The first trade with the Bulls brought Moritz Wagner from Berlin to the Celtics, who resolved it a few days later, paving the way for a new contract with the Orlando Magic. The transaction that brought Theis back to Boston was at the expense of Dennis Schröder, among others. Braunschweiger was traded to the Houston Rockets, where his season came to an end this week.

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