After Friday night’s 120-95 win over the Indiana Pacers, the Boston Celtics had strung two straight wins together where they looked a lot more like the team we saw earlier this season. The offense was flowing, the effort and pace was there, and the ball movement kept the whole thing running like a well-oiled machine. While it may have been the Pacers on Friday and not one of the top teams in the East, the Celtics still came out and took care of business, and that’s what good teams do.
Despite the turnaround Boston is showing, a lot of attention has been turned towards off-the-court drama, with Jaylen Brown interviews with The New York Times and The Ringer coming to light and stirring up a storm. One particularly interesting tidbit from The Ringer’s piece was Jaylen Brown recalling a three-way phone call with Brad Stevens and Jayson Tatum. The phone call came in the offseason at the height of the Kevin Durant trade rumors, with the Boston Celtics rumored to be heavily in the mix, as well as Jaylen Brown frequently getting mentioned in the conversation. Things spiked when photos of Durant and Tatum working out surfaced, and it led to Brown’s phone call with his running mate and former-coach-turned-GM.
“[KD] and JT are friends,” said Jaylen Brown to The Ringer’s Logan Murdock. “They was working out together and whatnot. So, I wasn’t sure what the energy was. I wasn’t sure what the direction of the organization was.” It hasn’t been the first time that Brown has come up in trade rumors, with players like Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis rumored to be on Boston’s radar.
Following Friday’s win, Jayson Tatum was asked about the phone call, and what was said to Jaylen Brown to assuage his anxieties about the trade rumors. “Just resharing the obvious, that we need him and he’s a big part of this team and this franchise,” said Jayson Tatum. “Without him, we can’t reach our goal. You guys know that, the world knows that, the team knows that.”
Jayson Tatum on summer call with Jaylen Brown during Durant trade rumors: "Just resharing the obvious that we need him and he's a big part of this team and this franchise. Without him, we can't reach our goal. You guys know that, the world knows that, the team knows that."— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) March 25, 2023
Jayson Tatum’s comments are not off the mark when it comes to Jaylen Brown and his importance to this team and franchise. Since returning from a facial fracture after the All-Star break, Jaylen Brown has been on a tear, shooting over 50% from the field and over 40% from beyond the arc. Brown has also been a vocal leader, and taken on that mantle of responsibility as one of the stars on this team when the team struggles.
It’s without question that this team is better with Jaylen Brown, and with the vibes that the team has been giving off, it seems to be clear that his teammates appreciate him being onboard. Heading into the playoffs, that’s exactly where this team needs to be: on the same page.