BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics have operated at their best when All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both being playing their best basketball at the same time.
Whether that partnership can endure long enough for them to lead the franchise to an 18th NBA title has been the persistent question surrounding the Celtics each of the past two seasons as rumors have swirled about Boston’s willingness to possibly trade Brown for more high-profile stars.
It included this past offseason when reports surfaced about possible trade discussions between Boston and Brooklyn after Kevin Durant levied a trade request.
Brown has been consistent in saying he has not let any of the rumors be a distraction for him on the court, as evidenced him averaging career highs in points (26.7) and rebounds this season. He had 27 points and seven rebounds in the Celtics’ 120-95 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, helping Boston stay in the hunt to catch Milwaukee for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
But he also acknowledged in a recent interview with The Ringer that he was bothered enough by the most recent Durant trade chatter that he was compelled to reach out to both Tatum and president of basketball operations Brad Stevens in a conference call.
Tatum confirmed that detail after Friday’s win, saying that he and Stevens let Brown know in that call that he was a valued member of the organization.
“Just reassuring the obvious — that we need him,” Tatum said. “He’s a big part of this team, this franchise. Without him, we can’t reach our goal. You guys know that. The world knows that. The team knows that. We need him to be the best version of ourselves.”
Though Brown maintains a mostly calm demeanor on the court, he said Friday that he tries to be upfront about things when he feels it’s necessary.
“I’m a type of person that likes to let people know how I’m feeling about certain things and certain situations,” Brown said. “And sometimes when I don’t speak, people speak for you. And sometimes things get taken out of context and gets lost in translation. I mean, those things happen.
“But I pick and choose my spots. Obviously, I’m not going to overcompensate myself and just speak on everything and just let everybody know how I feel about everything because sometimes it ain’t everybody’s business. … In a sense I do enjoy using my platform to speak on certain topics.”