It’s getting a tad bit lonely for Jayson Tatum in the Boston Celtics‘ locker room.
Less than three months after dealing away Tatum’s “super, super close” friend Javonte Green at the trade deadline, the Cs have yet again gutted their roster of a close Tatum companion. In Brad Stevens’ first blockbuster move as team exec, he shipped off veteran point guard Kemba Walker and draft capital to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a rather rare pre-combine deal. In return, Boston yielded the services of veteran big man Al Horford, 21-year-old center Moses Brown and a future second-round pick.
Upon hearing of the news, Tatum took to social media, sharing an image of both he and Walker, captioned “Damn… my boy 4L [for life]” on his Instagram story.
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Walker Credited Tatum for Decision to Sign With Celtics
Walker, who signed with the Celtics as a free agent in 2019, revealed in an interview with ESPN’s Jack MacMullan in July of that year that Tatum played a key role in luring him to Boston.
“Me and Jayson actually spoke for quite some time,” Walker said of their interactions at a Jordan Brand event in Paris. “Jayson’s such a good guy, such a great player. For the most part, I like being around high-character guys with work ethic. Just guys who I can be around, be myself around. That’s kind of the vibe I got from JT when I was around him… When we left Paris, as the days went on and free agency came and I made my decision, a lot was because of him.”
Will Celtics’ Roster Moves Have a Lingering Effect on Tatum?
Walker is simply the latest Celtics player to “bite the dust” in recent months. Tatum was highly vocal about the team’s decision to trade the aforementioned Javonte Green to the Chicago Bulls back in March.
“I didn’t see that coming,” Tatum said of Green’s trade to the Bulls. “He was someone I was super, super close with. I loved having him around. That was tough, for all of us. Especially for myself, too. [Green] was someone I was real close with as a friend. Obviously, he helped us in the locker room, in the time he did get opportunities. I guess this is just part of it.”
Tatum also admitted to feeling a type of way about seeing former teammate Daniel Theis putting in work for the opposing Bulls in a late-April matchup.
“Sad to see him on the other side, but I’m always happy for him,” Tatum told reporters of Theis “I’ve got nothing but love for that guy.”
The Athletic’s Jared Weiss questions what lingering effects these roster decisions may have on Tatum’s long-term outlook in Boston, also floating another future move that could see the Celtics sever ties with another “close teammate” of the two-time All-Star.
“The question now is how these moves will impact Boston’s franchise players. Jayson Tatum has already seen close friend Javonte Green move to Chicago at the deadline, and now loses another locker room friend in Walker,” Weiss wrote. “Horford’s arrival opens the door for the team to possibly move on from Tristan Thompson, another close teammate for Tatum.”
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- Marcus Smart Trade Proposal Lands Celtics Potential Kemba Replacement
- Brad Stevens Breaks Silence on Kemba’s Exit, Horford’s Return
- Celtics Trade Kemba Walker to OKC for Former All-Star & 7-Footer: Report