Celtics' second-round pick Thornton heading to Australia


One Marcus Thornton signed with the Rockets.

The other – the Celtics’ No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft, not the six-year NBA veteran – is headed to Australia.

Sydney Kings release:

The Sydney Kings are excited to announce that 2015 second round NBA Draft pick, guard Marcus Thornton, has agreed to join the club for the 2015/16 National Basketball League Season.

Thornton was one of the Celtics’ four 2015 draft picks. Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter have guaranteed contracts as first-round picks, and second-rounder Jordan Mickey agreed to a guaranteed deal.

That commits Boston to 16 players for next season, one more than the regular-season limit. So, Thornton playing a year overseas avoids making this situation even sticker.

Thornton could have forced the Celtics’ hand by accepting their required tender, a one-year contract teams must extend to keep the rights to second-rounders. That surely would have been a non-guaranteed minimum deal, and Boston likely would have waived him after training camp.

That would have freed Thornton to negotiate with any team in the NBA. Right now, the Celtics have exclusive rights to sign him – a huge bargaining chip.

So why did Thornton agree to forgo the NBA contract he had on the table? There are a couple logical possibilities:

1. He agreed to do so before the draft. The Celtics knew they’d run into roster-space issues, and they selected the top player on their board who promised to play overseas as a condition of being drafted. That’s quite common.

2. Boston promised him a better contract next year if he delayed signing this year. Again, that’s hardly uncommon.

This is a win for the Celtics. They get to keep the rights to an impressive young athlete who shot well from beyond the arc at William & Mary, and they don’t even have to pay him or use a roster spot on him this season

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