The Celtics had an offday Tuesday and the organization and players, like a lot of the rest of the world, were paying close attention to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.
Chauvin was found guilty of all three counts in the murder of George Floyd in an incident that set off a racial awakening in America and touched many NBA players, who spoke out about social issues such as police brutality and voter suppression in the NBA bubble.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Wednesday he was pleased with the verdict but it’s just the beginning of the work to improve racial equality.
“I think it’s something that we’ve talked about for a long time,” he said following practice in Brighton. “I’m very happy with the verdict. I think everybody is. I tend to agree with everyone [who] says it’s a good sign of accountability. There’s also a lot more to do. The next big emphasis in that regard has got to be the George Floyd Bill passing through the Senate. We’re all hopeful of that.
“[We] certainly will continue to do our part to talk about the importance of it. I felt [Tuesday] felt like a step in the right direction. And at the same time I’m very cognizant there’s a lot to do. I’m proud to be part of a group and organization that is trying to do it. We’ll just keep doing our small part but [Tuesday] was certainly encouraging.”
Forward Jayson Tatum said he realizes he will eventually have to have a talk with his 3-year-old son, Deuce, about how to handle himself when dealing with the police.
“This is all new to me, the parenting thing and when to have those talks,” he said. “Obviously I know I’m going to have to have them one day and now I understand how I guess every time I left the house when I was in high school just as a parent, my mom, all the things I didn’t realize she had to worry about.”
Tatum was a teenager at the time of the Michael Brown death in Ferguson, Mo., near his hometown of St. Louis. Tatum said he realizes why his mother was so concerned about his welfare during those times.
“Just praying that I would make it home,” he said. “Now that I have my own son I understand that feeling of just wanting him to be safe at all times. I’m sure that as he gets older and starts to understand the world around him he’ll start to ask more questions. To have those type of talks at 3 right now is kind of hard to gauge everything for him. In a few years down the line, I’m sure.”
Brown doubtful against Suns
The Celtics are facing a daunting three-game stretch — Phoenix, Brooklyn, and Charlotte — and won’t be healthy as they make a run for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Stevens reported after practice that forward Jaylen Brown has been diagnosed with left shoulder bursitis and is doubtful for Thursday’s game against the Suns. Point guard Kemba Walker, who did not play in Monday’s loss to the Bulls, did not practice because of a non-COVID-19 illness but could play.
Center Robert Williams will miss his fourth consecutive game with left knee soreness and it’s uncertain if he will play Friday against the Nets. Marcus Smart, who also missed Monday’s game because of an illness, practiced Wednesday and is expected to return.
Finally, forward Evan Fournier was at practice but remains in the league’s COVID-19 protocol. Fournier has already missed eight consecutive games and it’s uncertain when he will return.
“We just haven’t had [rhythm], even through this stretch,” Stevens said. “We had a little bit of that when we were out west. But still that’s without Fournier, missing Rob in the last game as well. We just haven’t had that opportunity and I know we’re not unique in that. We’re hopeful at some point in the next 14 games we can have everybody on the roster available but we’re still not there.”