SALEM, N.H. -- Boston Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk understands why Evan Turner had to depart this summer, but that didn't make saying goodbye to one of his best friends on the Celtics' roster any easier.
During Turner's two seasons with Boston, he didn't just emerge as a versatile weapon that coach Brad Stevens could use in any situation, but Turner also forged what seemed like a rather unexpected bond with Olynyk that extended off the court.
In a summer filled with optimism, Turner's departure has been about the only real negative for the Celtics. Boston's limited rights to Turner -- as well as blossoming guard depth -- ensured the Celtics wouldn't have the sort of money to commit, and Turner signed a four-year, $70 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Olynyk, who was thrilled that Turner visited his Olynyk Klynyk basketball camp in Olynyk's native Kamloops, British Columbia, earlier this summer, said Turner's departure will leave a void in Boston's locker room. But he is thrilled for his friend.
"Unbelievable guy. It’s too bad that he had to go," Olynyk said Wednesday during a visit to Canobie Lake Park before a Shamrock Foundation event. "It was good for him -- really good for him. It’s tough. The business is different. You see over the years, you get close to guys, you have great teammates like Evan, but they have to do what’s best for them."
Why did Olynyk and Turner -- with their secret handshakes and penchant for Instagram shots together -- bond so deeply in Boston?
"I don’t know. He’s really a high-character guy. His outlook on life, it’s different than a lot of people’s. He’s been through a lot -- his whole life really, but even in college, he was the man. Then it wasn’t as easy in Philadelphia and he kind of knows how it goes.
"He’s somebody who really helps guys out. I think that his voice, that's something that people respect. He just keeps it real, keeps it 100 every time you talk to him. You know what you’re getting from him. And he’s going to give you his honest opinion. I think that’s something that’s really important."
It's fair to assume Olynyk will be logging into League Pass late at night to watch some of the Blazers games.
"Definitely have to watch a couple of games and check in on how he’s doing," said Olynyk. "But I’ll keep in touch with him for sure."
Celtics All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas also has noted the void left by Turner's departure.
"We're going to miss Evan," Thomas said in a recent interview with Bleacher Report. "He's a guy who can not only make a play for himself but a play for his teammates. When we played together, I played off the ball and let him make plays. We're definitely going to miss that, but [Turner's departure] is an opportunity someone else can take advantage of. I know Marcus Smart is going to be ready and is working hard."