Chris Vernon and Kevin O’Connor, hosts of The Ringer’s Mismatch Podcast, both weighed in on the Celtics’ struggling season before both added sensational pieces of information that align with what the two have been hearing through the grapevine.
“The level of, and I’m going to make up a word, out-ness, on Tristan Thompson is unbelievable. They’ve got to get rid of him,” Vernon said, via The Ringer. “They’ve got to get rid of him. I feel like that has been a disaster. He’s resented. You know, he’s in safety protocols again? Well, nothing gets reported on this but from what I was told, he won’t stop going out.
“So, he just goes out and, of course, he’s breaking the protocols because he’s not testing positive for this stuff, right? You’re not getting the contract tracing and all the stuff that goes along with this.”
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor: ‘Thompson’s Not Loved In That Locker Room’
Vernon even went as far as accusing Thompson of flat-out not wanting to play and is using COVID-19 protocols as a convenient excuse. Then, O’Connor chimed in.
“Here’s what I’ve heard and it definitely aligns with what you’re saying here,” O’Connor explained via The Ringer. “With the COVID protocols, some NBA locker rooms aren’t big enough to accommodate an entire team by meeting their requirements in keeping players six feet apart before games. Some locker rooms are small. Some players have to be in the main locker room, others have to be in a makeshift one in order to keep players separated.
“The Celtics locker room is split into two; you have the veteran players in the main locker room while the younger players are in the makeshift locker room to meet the COVID protocols.”
This split has severed the team’s chemistry, according to Kevin.
“There’s a literal divide, a distance divide but also that’s kind of created a lack of chemistry and that there’s sort of two sides of the Celtics team where there’s not a lot of camaraderie that you’re talking about,” O’Connor said. “There’s not a lot of togetherness that you’d love to have in a team. So, just as a natural result of the COVID protocols, the Celtics locker room has sort of been split and yes, I’ve also heard that (Tristan) Thompson’s not loved in that locker room for numerous different reasons.”
Kemba Walker Claps Back At Report: ‘We Love TT’
Welp, it didn’t take long for this report to spread like wildfire, and then it was put out by Jaylen and Kemba. Brown retweeted the story via HoopCentral with a cap emoji, thus Jaylen is saying that the report is cap (a lie).
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) March 23, 2021
Ten minutes later, Walker sent a similar message but this one was crystal clear when Kemba retweeted Jaylen’s post and accompanied it with “we love TT.”
we love TT https://t.co/mGOrw1IRLU
— Kemba Walker (@KembaWalker) March 23, 2021
O’Connor On The 2020-21 Celtics: ‘There Are Some Serious Chemistry Issues’
O’Connor also added that the friction between Celtics players isn’t always related to what’s going on inside the locker room but rather what’s being talked about outside of it.
“Like any other situation that trade discussions and all that can hamper team chemistry and make guys on edge, especially after losing games,” O’Connor said. “Especially, when they’re losing games after having high expectations; going to three of the last four Eastern Conference finals. Right? That makes it even worse.
“So, that’s what I’ve heard; it aligns with what you’ve heard that there are some serious chemistry issues there, which is why I think we’re seeing everything we’re seeing.”