If you’re particularly pessimistic about the Boston Celtics, this story won’t make you feel any better.
The Athletic’s Jared Weiss on Saturday published a lengthy piece detailing apparent dysfunction within the 2020-21 Celtics. The story was inspired by Friday’s trading of Kemba Walker, who reportedly had an iffy relationship with former head coach Brad Stevens.
But Weiss also included information that suggests Walker wasn’t the only unhappy player inside Boston’s locker room last season.
Check out this excerpt:
(Marcus) Smart has long been a favorite of both Stevens and predecessor Danny Ainge, even as Ainge was reportedly exploring trades for Smart. Despite the continuity in leadership, several team sources suggest the Celtics’ culture of competition is eroding — with more than one source pointing to the players’ perceived indifference toward Kyrie Irving stomping on the Celtics logo after the final home game of the season as a red flag they did not exhibit the same sense of pride in the organization that has been the Celtics’ calling card in years past.
According to a source, Brooklyn’s Blake Griffin asked a Celtics player if he should join the team midseason and was told not to come to Boston because of the apparent dysfunction.
At season’s end, multiple sources close to the players said several members of the locker room were welcoming a coaching change, noting Stevens did not appear to hold key players accountable, with complaints he was favoring Smart over others.
Whether a new coach will be able to reimbue a sense of “Celtics pride” among Boston’s players remains to be seen. However, at this point, it’s hard to feel good about the current direction of the franchise.