'Veteran' Olynyk embraces summer work

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Maybe it was because it was Canada Day. Boston Celtics second-year big man (and the pride of Kamloops, British Columbia) Kelly Olynyk simply seemed to have a little extra bounce in his step after the team's summer squad went through a morning workout on Tuesday at HealthPoint.

Chris Forsberg/ESPN Boston

Kelly Olynyk chats with reporters after Tuesday's morning workout for Boston's summer team.Sporting a summery striped T-shirt (that hinted at a leaner, more toned Olynyk than we saw at season's end two months ago), a backward snapback hat bearing a pigeon and his typical Shaggy-esque long hair and chin stubble, Olynyk playfully fielded questions from reporters with a quick wit that confirmed a much more relaxed and playful demeanor than we typically saw during his rookie campaign.

At one point, a question came about young players being jittery for summer league and Olynyk was asked if he had any nerves.

"Right now?" he asked to laughter, then deadpanned, "I’m so nervous right now."

The inquisitor clarified to note that the question was in reference to nerves he might have experienced last year when he was a fresh-faced rookie in Orlando.

The 23-year-old Olynyk is actually one of the elder statesmen on this year's summer roster, a veteran presence and one of the few with an established role on the regular-season roster. A successful rookie campaign in the rearview -- one that saw the 13th overall pick earn NBA All-Rookie second-team honors after averaging 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds over 20 minutes per game -- Olynyk is embracing the idea of honing his skills in Orlando.

"I'm definitely a lot more comfortable knowing what’s coming -- who’s in it and what it has in store, in terms of being in Orlando and what it’s like," Olynyk said. "But I think it’s definitely not as much of a learning experience and just getting your feet wet [like] last year. This year it's just kind of going and trying to be a part of a bigger thing. A part of the team and growing as a team and kind of helping lead the team."

So what advice would Olynyk give to his rookie teammates?

"You can tell them it’s faster, guys are quicker, more athletic," Olynyk said. "Summer League is a little bit different in terms of, it’s a lot of guys that maybe they played against last year that are just playing now. It’s different once you get into the regular season. You know, you can tell them and tell them and tell them, but until you get out there and they experience it, you don’t know how much faster, how much stronger, how much quicker it is. You can warn them, but it’s one of those things where you’ve just got to let them go like little kids -- release them from the nest."

Olynyk already has logged plenty of frequent flier miles this offseason. He spent time in Vietnam for the Jr. NBA, then trekked back to his collegiate stomping grounds at Gonzaga for the Spokane Hoopfest last weekend. Between it all, he's posted up in Waltham and joined the other returning Celtics players for morning workouts aimed at putting the team in position to take a step forward this season.

Asked about trimming down, Olynyk said, "I think a little bit, [to] make sure I’m as mobile as I can be, explosive and quick, agile. I’m trying to get as strong as I can without sacrificing that stuff. I think I might have sacrificed a little bit during the season."

Not even pesky trade rumors could dampen Olynyk's spirit. His name has often been referenced as part of a potential package Boston might have dangled to Minnesota in talks about Kevin Love.

"You can’t really let it get to you," Olynyk said. "You can’t not listen to it, but you can’t let it bother you. Until something happens, nothing is concrete and you’re still here until they make a move. Until they do that, I’m here ready to work, ready to make this team better and be as good as we can be."