The Athletic’s Jared Weiss dropped a bit of live ordinance into the Boston Celtics discourse Saturday morning fresh on the heels of a bombshell trade of starting point guard Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Revelations regarding the state of “Celtic Pride,” that autochthonous term for the longstanding mystique of the team in terms of a culture based on title acquisition point to a mythos evidently in distress. Weiss relates that “the Celtics’ culture of competition is eroding” in the eyes of some, with multiple sources gesturing towards “Kyrie Irving stomping on the Celtics logo” as evidence the team did not “exhibit the same sense of pride in the organization” that has been a hallmark of Boston teams in the past.
Touched on openly by former Celtics Finals MVP Cedric Maxwell in his recent “Celtics Lab” podcast and noted by other former Boston stars, this is a recurrent theme — and one that might have already had teambuilding consequences, per Weiss.
“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,” he explained. While it was common knowledge that the sought-after big man had considered Boston after being bought out by the Detroit Pistons, this new wrinkle is not exactly a ringing endorsement of professionalism from what is admittedly a very young roster. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1406320326716297217
Other moves made by the team seem to reflect concerns regarding accountability among players, even if they weren’t the primary reason they were being made.
“At season’s end, multiple sources close to the players said several members of the locker room were welcoming a coaching change,” related Weiss, “noting Stevens did not appear to hold key players accountable, with complaints he was favoring Smart over others.”
The Athletic writer also related how it was a “common refrain … that the team should hire a person of color with NBA playing experience to coach.” https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1405965262965329922?s=20
Whether this ends up being reflected with a hire of Ime Udoka, Darvin Ham or Chauncey Billups based on ESPN reporting of those candidates getting second interviews remains to be seen, and adds complexity to existing reporting on the topic of Boston’s offseason moves. The unexpectedly early if not unforeseen trade of Kemba Walker may also be related, based on what Weiss shares. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1406060847936507911?s=20
“Though Walker was revered by his teammates, his ability to effect change with his voice was naturally undercut by his struggles to match it on the floor,” he observes. There were plenty of other concerns — such as the financial ones discussed more at length by Weiss in the article — but something clearly went sideways with the Celtics in terms of leadership and buy-in last season. A return of veteran presence Al Horford may well be one of several tactics employed in the hopes of correcting it. This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook! [lawrence-related id=52216,52219,52217,52214] [listicle id=52194]