After not being able to crack Stan Van Gundy's rotation and being sent to the D-League for a brief stint, the writing was on the wall for Luigi Datome, as most expected him to be traded or cut at the deadline; however, what most didn't anticipate, was that Jonas Jerebko would be following him to Boston on Feb 19. After a successful partial season with the Celtics that saw both the Italian and Swedish forwards break out and become fan favorites, they are poised to play in playoffs for the first time in their career.
Jerebko sat down with The Boston Herald's Mark Murphy and Datome with Brian Robb over at CBS Boston prior to their first postseason appearance, and amidst talking about their playoff aspirations and the Celtics' newfound playstyle, Detroit inevitably came up, here is what they had to say.
CBS Boston: You had only played three games this season for the Pistons prior to your arrival in Boston and you were in and out of the rotation last year as well...how challenging as a whole has the transition been to the NBA?
Gigi Datome: I mean, from the beginning, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I said from the beginning, I would face the tough moment with a smile, hard work, and patience. It was a lot of time and patience, so for sure, it was frustrating. The NBA is nice and our life is great. We are lucky, but I'm a basketball player and I love to play. So when the trade happened, I was satisfied. Not because I knew I would be playing, but because there would be an opportunity and I was starting from zero again.
CBS Boston: Were you a little surprised that you didn't get any kind of an opportunity with a new coaching regime in Detroit (with Stan Van Gundy) in your second season in the league?
Gigi Datome: I wanted to have an opportunity with the Pistons because it was my original team. They made the choice to prefer other players, so I couldn't do anything about it and just accepted this season, be a good teammate and wait for my opportunity. It didn't arrive there, it arrived here and I'm happy about it.
"I've known Gigi a long time," Jerebko recently said with a smile. "We played against each other when we were in Italy in our younger days too. We've both been through it. He was in Detroit for two years and I was there for six. It's been a good change for both of us. It's been a roller coaster ride for me in Detroit, and (Datome) never got the chance to play in Detroit. I also had a great time in Detroit when I played a lot and played good. For him this is a real difference. He's happy to be getting a shot, and I'm happy for him too. I know he's a good player."
The Cavaliers went on to beat the Celtics 113-100 in their first matchup, Jerebko notched 7 points and 3 rebounds in 19 minutes and Datome only played one minute. Both forwards' contracts are expiring at the end of the season, and whilst the Celtics would love to retain them, don't be surprised if their performance in green doesn't land them a larger contract elsewhere.