Blake Griffin averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in limited playing time last season for the Brooklyn Nets. Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

BOSTON — The Celtics are turning to a past No. 1 overall pick to provide much-needed depth to their suddenly depleted frontcourt.

Blake Griffin, once known for his electrifying highlight-reel dunks, is signing with the Celtics on a fully guaranteed one-year deal, according to multiple reports on Friday, first by ESPN. The Celtics have not yet announced the deal.

The Celtics began training camp this week already thin in the frontcourt. Danilo Gallinari, signed as a free agent this summer, tore the ACL in his left knee while playing for the Italian national team and is expected to miss most if not all of this season, while starting center Rob Williams is out 2-3 months after having left knee surgery last week. Because of those injuries, the Celtics entered camp with Al Horford and Grant Williams as their only healthy bigs on guaranteed contracts.

Luke Kornet, a 7-foot-2 center who is in camp on a non-guaranteed deal, is expected to make the team in the wake of those injuries and was even seen practicing with the starting unit earlier this week. But he also reportedly caught the injury bug. Kornet is expected to miss 1-2 weeks after suffering an ankle sprain in practice, according to The Athletic, which may have accelerated the Celtics’ urgency to add another big man in Griffin.

Other bigs in camp include Mfiondu Kabengele, Luka Samanic and Noah Vonleh.

Griffin, 33, is entering his 13th NBA season and was a free agent this offseason after spending last season with the Nets. The No. 1 overall pick by the Clippers in 2009, Griffin is a six-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA selection but is clearly past his prime after dealing with injuries throughout his career.


Still, Griffin is capable of becoming an impact player off the bench after accepting that role for the Nets last season, when he averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game. Though his offensive numbers declined – including shooting 26.2% from 3, significantly down from his career average – Griffin is still a good defender and rebounder who can bring energy. The veteran led the NBA with 26 charges drawn last season despite playing just 958 minutes.

The Celtics, who are maxed out with 20 players in camp, will have to cut a player to make room for Griffin on their training camp roster.

SEATTLE: An NBA preseason game may not seem like a benchmark moment, even in a basketball-hungry city like Seattle, but Jamal Crawford believes there’s value even in an exhibition.

“It reignites a whole new generation of kids who need to see this,” said Crawford, a Seattle native who has been a basketball ambassador for the city through a 20-year NBA career and now with a pro-am that brings in NBA players every summer. “They need to be able to dream and know that it’s real.”

The NBA makes its latest brief return to the Emerald City on Monday night when the Los Angeles Clippers face the Portland Trail Blazers in a preseason game. The matchup will be the first NBA contest in Seattle since 2018, when the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings played a preseason game that was the last sporting event inside KeyArena before it was gutted and rebuilt into the gleaming Climate Pledge Arena.

A sell-out crowd turned out for that first NBA game in Seattle since the beloved SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008 after 41 years in the Pacific Northwest.

Someday, possibly soon, the expectations are that Seattle will reclaim its place as an NBA town.

Speculation is nonstop about when the NBA will choose to expand. Thanks to the resolution of its arena situation, Seattle seems likely to be at the forefront of those expansion talks, with Las Vegas likely right behind it.

But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been noncommittal about a possible expansion timeline, and it seems likely those talks won’t pick up steam until the league deals with the new collective bargaining agreement and television deals that are on the horizon.

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