NBA Rumor: Kelly Olynyk Free Agency

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With the revised NBA schedule, the final qualifying tournament for Canada will be June 29 to July 4 in Victoria, B.C. If all goes well, a spot in the Tokyo Olympics July 23 to Aug. 8 will come before free agency. Players often choose to be cautious about any chance to sustain an injury when they are not under contract, but Olynyk said Wednesday he still hopes to compete. “That’s obviously my goal,” Olynyk said. “Obviously, I played for Canada for more years than I played in the NBA. It’s always been a goal of mine to play in the Olympics and represent Canada on the highest stage. Hopefully, we can this summer. Hopefully, I get that opportunity.”

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At the time, the NBA was on its normal schedule, allowing players to complete their free agency decisions before the usual Olympics schedule. The revised schedule, however, would give him something to consider, if not necessarily enough to change his plans. “It definitely does change that,” Olynyk said. “Usually, your free agency is done July 1 and the Olympics are the beginning of August and you’re good to go. Now, the Olympics are the end of July and free agency is the beginning of August, so it’s kind of flip-flopped. Obviously, that plays a role and you have to think about it, whether it’s insurance or what the best route to go is. We’ll cross those bridges when they come but my goal is to go out there and play and represent my country.”

Kelly Olynyk received a call from the Heat shortly after Hayward agreed to a deal in Boston, and he quickly committed. “It all really happened so fast, things really fell into place, they were really interested,” Olynyk said. “It was surreal. [Team president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra], those are guys who have been through everything, won championships, both as coaches. They run a tight ship down there and I like what they presented and had to offer.”

Kelly Olynyk understands the Boston Celtics’ salary-cap situation will loom over his restricted free agency this summer, but said he will not worry about how the team’s pursuit of top targets could impact his future. “It is what it is,” Olynyk said Thursday afternoon after appearing at a Shamrock Foundation carnival for students who achieved perfect attendance throughout the school year, boosted their grades considerably or won one of the Celtics’ annual writing or art contests. “I love that we have so much that can go on. (Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has) put our team in a position where that’s the case, and that’s why we were No. 1 in the East, that’s why we’re still trending upwards. And hopefully we can do something this summer that keeps us trending that way.”

The Celtics also were unable to agree on a contract extension with fourth-year forward Kelly Olynyk. Ainge said he met with the 7-footer’s agent Monday, as the sides tried to finalize a deal before the midnight deadline. Ultimately, though, maintaining salary-cap flexibility that will allow the Celtics to pursue a maximum-contract free agent remained the top priority. “If we didn’t have max cap flexibility next summer and the possibility to land a superstar-type player, an All-Star-caliber player, it might have been different in our negotiations,” Ainge said. “But because we still are there, with where we are in cap management, there was no reason to rush into it.”

Forward/center Kelly Olynyk is eligible to sign a long-term deal before the Oct. 30 deadline but the Celtics are likely to wait until next summer to determine whether to invest in him long term. This is a critical season for Olynyk, who is coming off shoulder surgery. He will be depended on to be the floor-stretching sharpshooter the Celtics have desired the past three years. Olynyk has missed 43 games over his first three seasons, primarily because of injuries. The Celtics want more toughness and consistency from their former first-round pick .
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May 5, 2021 | 10:01 pm EDT Update