Jayson Tatum On Collaboration With Jaylen Brown: ‘We Both Want To Be Here… We Want To Get Out Of It Together’

Due to extensive injuries and COVID-19 issues, the Boston Celtics generally got a pass last season. But after a slow start to this campaign, which has them under .500, as we approach the halfway mark, there is renewed concern and criticism about the club’s present and future.

Most notably, talks have begun about the viability of the Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown partnership. The duo, who had great success early in their careers as part of the Celtics’ race to three Eastern Conference finals, have not been able to replicate those leading-role results, although several other issues are at play. In fact, the topic has become so big that Brown and Tatum have both tackled 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 career. The past year has not gone as expected. But the setback we have experienced will help us grow and get better in the future.”

On Monday night, it was Tatum’s turn, following the team’s solid win against the Indiana Pacers. Shortly after finishing with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and hitting an tying jumper in the closing seconds of regulation, he confirmed that he recently had a discussion with Brown about the situation. In short, Tatum reiterated his teammate’s belief that the duo should not be split up.

“Obviously we live in a world where we’re on our phones and the TV and we see all about ‘we can’t play together’ and everyone in the media is saying one of us has to go,” Tatum said. “We just had a conversation about how we both want to be here, we both want to find out.

“There aren’t many players in the league like JB,” Tatum continued. “The grass isn’t always greener. We’ve had some great stretches and this year wasn’t what we expected, but I think it will be good for us in the long run. We have some things to figure out, but I think the most important is that we both really want it, we want to try and work it out together so for us it’s really important to be on the same page we’ve got each other back and we’re going to give everything we have to figure this out no matter what people say.”

While it’s understandable that you’re concerned about the Celtics’ condition, it’s a little odd that they seem to have started making suggestions about whether to move Brown or Tatum. The whole league wants big wings that can shoot and defend, and the Celtics have two. Teams almost never get better when they trade one of their best players, and it makes no sense for the Celtics to share one of those two without trying to change the supporting cast first.

(There’s also a bigger discussion here about how so much of the league’s popularity now comes from player moves and out-of-court dealings, and the not-so-tasty role the media plays in creating that drama — often at the expense of the product on the track.)

The Celtics front office seems to agree. According to a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic on Monday, the team has no plans to trade Brown or Tatum and has told investigative teams they want to build around their young wings. However, they are willing to talk about different members of the supporting cast.

With the February 10 trading deadline approaching, the Celtics will be one team to watch. Given their current track record and the way the offense often stalls late in games – Boston is 3-11 in games decided by less than five points – you can expect them to look for extra shooting and playmaking. However, one thing you should not expect is a transaction involving Brown or Tatum.

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