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Celtics waive R.J. Hunter as James Young makes team

16 March 2014: Kentucky Wildcats guard/forward James Young (1) drives tot he basket around Florida Gators forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) in first half action of the Kentucky Wildcats v Florida Gators game in the SEC Tournament at The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.
Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire

The Boston Celtics have decided that swingman James Young has won a roster spot over guard R.J. Hunter, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Both players are former first-round picks of the Celtics in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Young won the battle after a preseason in which he averaged 5.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. He capped the postseason off with two solid performances against the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks. He averaged nine points and 5.5 rebounds in the final two preseason games. The Celtics originally selected him 17th overall out of Kentucky int he 2014 NBA Draft. He has only played in 60 games over his first two NBA seasons, however.

Hunter is a second-year player out of Georgia State. At Georgia State, he became the school’s all-time leader in points, free throws made and three-pointers made. He split time in his rookie season between the Celtics and their D-League affiliate in Maine. He played in five preseason games, averaging 9.2 points, two rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest. He shot 35 percent from beyond the arc as well.

The Celtics were reportedly trying to find a team that would send them a second-round pick in exchange for Hunter, but were unable to find a partner and were forced to cut him to get their roster down to 15 players in advance of Monday evening’s deadline to finalize rosters.

Despite his longer tenure in the NBA, Young is still two years younger than Hunter and comes with the pedigree that led him to be ranked as a top 10 recruit in his class coming out of high school. Though the Celtics did not find a suitor for Hunter in trade, he is likely to draw some interest from around the league.

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