BOSTON — Sam Hauser came to the Boston Celtics last summer simply looking for an opportunity after going undrafted in 2021 in what ended up being a whirlwind of an offseason.

“I remember it was just really fast-moving,” Hauser said Thursday. “Draft night, I didn’t get drafted. Agreed to a two-way contract that night. Flew to Boston like two days later, started summer league practice. It really went in the blink of an eye. But summer league was fun. I enjoyed it.”

Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser (30) passes to a teammate during an NBA game against the Utah Jazz in Boston earlier this year. AP file photo

Hauser turned his two-way contract into a full-time opportunity for his sophomore season after Boston agreed to a three-year contract with him earlier this month that he will officially sign later this week.

The 6-foot-8 forward spent the majority of his minutes with the Maine Celtics during his rookie season but he will be the most proven player on this year’s Summer League.

“We had a good team last year and I think this year I’m going to be more comfortable out there,” he said. “Knowing what to expect and obviously having a good four days of practice, overall just being more comfortable.”

The Celtics have shown a great comfort level with him as they tried to solidify their bench depth by bringing him back on a long-term deal with two years guaranteed, according to a league source. Boston’s front office had the ability to add more proven veteran talent but the team likes the promise that Hauser showed by shooting 42 percent from 3-point range in his time split between the big club and Maine.


“I think it shows they value me and what I do and what I can bring to the table,” Hauser said of the deal. “Being on one of the best teams in the league is pretty special, and being able to stick here is awesome with one of the most historic franchises in the NBA. We have a lot to improve to get back to where we want to be and get over the hump this next year.”

Just how much Hauser figures into that plan remains to be seen. The Celtics have already bolstered their bench depth with the additions of Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari, so there will be no clear path for minutes for Hauser when the roster is healthy. However, team sources believe he could push for minutes in the rotation if he tightens up some areas of his game, something that he will have a chance to show in Summer League.

“I think, first and foremost, it starts on the defensive end,” Hauser said of areas the team wants him to work on this summer. “We had the No. 1 or 2 defense all year last year, so that’s obviously a focal point of our team. Being a great team defender and helping wherever I can. Obviously, being able to play off guys like JT (Jayson Tatum) and JB (Jaylen Brown) and use my shooting to my advantage and open up the floor for them hopefully. Those are probably the two main things, and just keep working and take advantage of my opportunities.”

Those chances will begin on Saturday afternoon as Boston takes on the Heat in their Summer League opener in Las Vegas, the first of five games over the next 10 days.

“Obviously, with a new deal, I’m going to be here for a couple more years,” he said. “So I just want to prove I belong and hopefully work my way into the rotation somehow, some way, but just going to show what I can do best.”

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