For Jaylen Brown, this offseason might best be remembered for what didn’t happen.
The Celtics lost Danilo Gallinari most likely for the entire year before he ever suited up for Boston. Robert Williams will miss the first two to three months recovering from knee surgery. And of course, former head coach Ime Udoka was suspended for the entire season.
But the Celtics opted not to include Brown in a deal for Kevin Durant.
At Media Day, Brown addressed this summer’s hottest rumor that he was crown jewel of Boston’s package to net KD from Brooklyn. Ultimately, the traded didn’t happen and Brown returns to Beantown for his seventh season in green. It wasn’t his first offseason with his name in the rumor mill, but after a trip to The Finals where Brown was Boston’s leading scorer, you’d think he’d earned some staying power with the franchise that drafted him back in 2016.
“It’s been the same since I’ve been here, so it wasn’t surprising or it wasn’t not surprising,” Brown said Monday, addressing reports that he could have been dealt for Durant. “It didn’t make me feel one type of way or whatever. It is what it is. I talked to my teammates, organization about it and now I’m just ready to play basketball.”
Brown claims to be in the best shape of his life after spending last year hampered by a hamstring issue that plagued him early in the year and late in the playoffs. A bulked up Brown added muscle and explosiveness to his game and he plans to do his talking on the floor.
“I’ve talked to my teammates. I’ve talked to ownership and the organization, etc. I’ll keep those conversations between us. All I can say is that now that I’m here, I’m ready to play basketball.”
Brown is in the third year of a four-year, $106 million contract. He’ll eligible for an extension this Saturday, but it’s more likely that he’ll work out a deal next year when he can sign a maximum contract in 2023 with a salary cap bump and a new league TV deal on the horizon.
Regardless if pen inks paper on October 1st or next summer, Brown takes his place in the franchise very seriously. “I think [it’s about] responsibility. Every role that this organization has given me, I’ve pretty much accepted it, taken it, and knocked it out of the park,” Brown told Celtics.com’s Amanda Pflugrad and Marc D’Amico.
“I look at it as, if you put me in any role or position and you give me time to acclimate myself, I can do it and help make my teammates better and help us win games. Over time, it’s just been given to me little by little for whatever reason, but it’s actually propelled me to be better and more efficient and be a better leader, because I can relate to guys going through the same thing.”
Over the summer, Brown’s training included underwater workouts with Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece to improve his breathing and stress maintenance.
He doubled the length of time he could hold his breath from sixty seconds to now over two minutes. Thankfully, us fans won’t have to hold our collective breaths much longer with training camp set to open today and preseason games just around the corner.
“I’m excited to start the journey,” Brown said. “Things haven’t gone in the start the way we wanted it to go, but that’s life sometimes. We’ll put our best foot forward and do what we gotta do.”