Celtics’ Oshae Brissett reflects on departure from Pacers: ‘It was time for a change’

After spending three formative seasons with the Pacers, Oshae Brissett was ready for his next chapter when he entered the summer as a free agent.

The Pacers knew it was time, too.

Before he signed with the Celtics on a two-year deal early in free agency, Brissett had a conversation with Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan about the future. They both agreed that Indiana was not the right place for the 25-year-old forward.

“It was more of like a mutual respect, talking to Chad,” Brissett said Wednesday before facing his former team for the first time. “He understood where I’m at right now in my career and what I need to kind of move forward. We talked on the phone a couple times and he felt like, and myself felt like it was time for a change and I felt like I needed to be here with a team that’s really going in that championship direction. Not to say they aren’t, obviously they’re looking for that, but right now they’re building up and they drafted a couple young guys, so that’s what they’re working to do.

“So, it was nothing but love with the Pacers, and like I said, I’ll always respect them and I’ll always thank them for me being here.”

While the Celtics boast a top-heavy roster, Brissett is expected to be a significant contributor off the bench. He already flashed his impact in last Friday’s home opener, when Jayson Tatum credited him with changing the game with his offensive rebounding in the first quarter.

It’s something the Pacers saw with regularity.

“He’s in the top two or three percentile in the league as an offensive rebounder,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s a great runner. His shooting got better and better and athletically, he’s terrific. He’s tough, he takes charges, and he’s one of the greatest teammates you’re ever gonna have. Being one of eight or nine in this rotation tells you something about what kind of player he is, because cracking this rotation ain’t easy.”

Nesmith motivated by tweet

When Aaron Nesmith, the Celtics’ No. 14 pick in the 2020 draft, was traded to the Pacers last summer in the Malcolm Brogdon deal, a tweet from Bleacher Report struck a chord. The tweet included the caption, “What the Celtics gave up for Brogdon,” accompanied by a photo of a paper clip and string, insinuating they gave up nothing.

Nesmith saved the tweet. And after he went off for 26 points in a win over the Cavaliers last weekend, he posted the tweet to his Instagram story and added his own commentary: “(Expletive) aged well ain’t it.”

“I’m someone who I do take things personally and that helps make me better,” Nesmith said. “It’s what drives me to go to the gym at night, so the tweet was always on my mind for sure.”

Nesmith said he continues to look at that tweet occasionally for motivation. It seems to be working. Once struggling to find playing time on a loaded Celtics team, Nesmith has found a perfect fit in Indiana, where he inked a three-year, $33 million extension before this season began.

“It’s a blessing, the opportunity I have here, the guys here, the staff here, the front office,” Nesmith said. “I wanted to be here for a long time, so I’m happy we were able to make that happen.”

Carlisle raved about Nesmith, who overcame a difficult situation in Boston and has grown in several areas in the last year in Indiana.

“There just wasn’t a lot of time for him to play and so that was challenging,” Carlisle said. “So when he would get in for short stints, it’s tough. I was one of those players that frequently was in that situation. It’s one of the most challenging things. But he’s clearly a guy who has taken advantage of an amazing opportunity with us. He really fits our organization, what we stand for, what we’re building, who we are going to be. Couldn’t be happier to have him on board.”

Walsh heads to Maine

Jordan Walsh, the Celtics’ No. 38 pick in June’s draft, was assigned to the Maine Celtics. It’s not a surprising move, given he’s unlikely to play much in Boston this season. Maine’s G-League schedule begins next week.

“Jordan’s got a chance at the 3-and-D slot of what the NBA is,” C’s coach Joe Mazzulla. “And he plays really, really hard. I thought he had a really good training camp with just the developmental team and the things that he’s learning. And you just need reps. Like, it’s exactly what we talked about with these other guys.

“You’ve gotta have reps and you have to develop a defensive identity first and then you have to know ways to affect offense. And then once you do those two things you can kind of grow into other roles. But the most important thing is he competes defensively and he figures out how to create 2-on-1s on offense with or without the ball.” …

Neemias Queta was out for a second consecutive game for the Celtics as he continues to nurse a lingering foot injury. Mazzulla said they’re just being cautious and they’ll see how it responds over the next week. … Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton was out of Wednesday’s game due to an ankle sprain.

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