Former Boston Celtics first round pick making NBA comeback, per report

Boston Celtics (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

According to Bleacher Report’s and TNT’s Chris Haynes, the 2015 first-round selection by the Boston Celtics, RJ Hunter has agreed to a deal with the Charlotte Hornets after an over four-year absence from the NBA. The Charlotte Observer’s Rod Boone confirmed that the deal is for one year and is non-guaranteed.

The news comes following the recent confirmation of the Eastern Conference outfit signing the former New York Knick Frank Ntilikina. The Hornets now have 14 players under contract after the report on Hunter. The Ohio native had two stints in Boston, contributing to in a total of 43 contests while averaging just 3.1 points on under 32% shooting from beyond the arc during the regular season with the Celts. He was best known for his standout 2015 NBA Summer League display, leading Boston over five games with 15.6 points to go along with over three rebounds in 24.4 minutes per game.

His last NBA game was with the Celtics in the final game of the 2018-2019 campaign when he netted 17 points in a triumph over the Washington Wizards. In addition to his time at the NBA level in the Boston organization, Hunter played a part in 30 total contests for the franchise’s G-League affiliate up in Maine.

Between 2016-2020, Hunter played for six different G-League sides including the then Red Claws including a short stint with Türk Telekom of the Turkish Basketball Super League from June 2019 to January 2020. Overall, Hunter struggled overseas, playing the most with Galatasaray in Turkey where the six-foot-five guard averaged nine points per game on 35% shooting from beyond the arc in 15 games. One of Joe Mazzulla’s newest assistant coaches, Amile Jefferson was on that Galatasaray team with Hunter during that 2020-2021 campaign.

After a stellar career, and a memorable March where his team upset No. 3 Baylor, the green and white took a chance on the Georgia State guard with the 28th overall pick. The two-time Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year came in during the same year as Terry Rozier. In fact, the two put pen to paper on their respective rookie deals on the same day, July 27, 2015.

Years later in completely different ways, the two will suit up for a team not named the Boston Celtics in the NBA. Hunter has been rehabbing from an injury since January 2022 after rupturing his left patellar tendon when playing for the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League in Australia.

The former Boston Celtics guard returns to the United States, looking to make the most out of this chance with Charlotte

Due to the fact that this contract is reported to be non-guaranteed, this is simply the Hornets taking a flyer on someone with the hope he can break out and make the roster. His game failed to translate to the NBA level the first time, failing to bring over his elite shooting ability from college into a role within a rotation among one of the 30 teams.

It looks like he could be playing more time with the team’s G-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm. Either way, it is good to see Hunter back in an NBA organization. Due to his age of 29, and a relatively unimpressive career away from the United States, it has to be considered a confusing signing by a franchise that has not made the postseason since the 2015-2016 season.