Due to extensive injuries and issues related to COVID-19, the Boston Celtics generally received a pass last season. But after a slow start to this campaign, which put them below 0.500 as we approach the halfway point, concerns and criticism about the club’s present and future have been renewed.
In particular, discussions have started on the viability of the Jayson Tatum-Jaylen Brown partnership. The duo, who enjoyed great success early in their careers as part of the Celtics’ run to three Eastern Conference finals, haven’t been able to replicate those results in the lead roles – although that there are various other issues involved. In fact, the topic has grown so broad that Brown and Tatum both broached it.
“I think we can play together,” Brown said last weekend after a win over the New York Knicks. “We have played well together for most of our careers. The past year has not gone as planned. But the adversity we have been through will help us grow and improve in the future.”
Monday night, after the team won in overtime against the Indiana Pacers, it was Tatum’s turn. Shortly after finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds and hitting an equalizer in the dying seconds of regulation, he confirmed that he had recently had a discussion with Brown about the situation. In short, Tatum reiterated his teammate’s belief that the duo don’t need to be apart.
“Obviously we live in a world where we’re on our phones and on TV and we see everything about ‘we can’t play together’ and everyone in the media says one of us has to. go there, ”Tatum said. “We just had a discussion about how we both want to be here, we both want to understand that.
“There aren’t a lot of players in the league like JB,” Tatum continued. “The grass isn’t always greener. We’ve had some great times and this year hasn’t been what we expected, but I think in the long run it will be good for us. We have to understand some things, but I think the most important thing is that we both want it extremely badly. We want to try to figure it out together. So for us it is extremely important to be on the same wavelength . We support each other and we will give everything we have to figure this out, no matter what people say. “
While it’s understandable to have concerns about the Celtics’ condition, it’s a little odd that they seem to have started by suggesting moving Brown or Tatum. The whole league wants big wings that can create shots and defend, and the Celtics have two. Teams hardly ever improve when they trade in one of their top players, and it doesn’t make sense for the Celtics to deal with either of those two without trying to bring in first. changes to the support cast.
(There’s also a bigger discussion to be had here about how much of the league’s popularity now comes from player movement and off-pitch relationships, and the not-so-tasty role the media plays in it. development of this drama – often to the detriment of the product on the ground.)
The Celtics’ front office seems to agree. According to a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic released on Monday, the team have no plans to trade Brown or Tatum, and told investigative teams they wanted to build around their young wings. They are however open to discuss various members of the secondary cast.
As the February 10 trade deadline approaches, the Celtics will be a team to watch. Considering their current record and how the offense often stalls late in the game – Boston is 3-11 in games decided by less than five points – you can expect them to look for shots and additional playmakers. One thing you shouldn’t expect, however, is a trade involving Brown or Tatum.