Jayson Tatum made his preference clear: He believes the Celtics should work out a contract extension with Jaylen Brown.
Brown is eligible for a five-year, $295-million extension that could make him the NBA’s highest-paid player. The Celtics must decide what role Brown plays in the team’s future.
“It’s extremely important” for Brown to remain in Boston, Tatum said after the Celtics’ 103-84 loss to the Heat in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. “He’s one of the best players in this league. He plays both ends of the ball and still is relatively young. And he’s accomplished a lot so far in his career.”
Tatum struggled in the series finale, shooting 5 for 13 for 14 points. He injured his ankle on the first possession of the game after landing awkwardly, and was visibly hampered.
“It’s tough because it kind of impacted me the rest of the night,” Tatum said. “It swelled up and it was just frustrating that I was kind of like a shell of myself. It was tough to move. Just frustrating. Especially [with] it happening on the first play.”
Other highlight’s from Tatum’s postgame press conference:
On the Celtics’ dismal record at home during the playoffs this season:
“It’s not difficult to play at home. We didn’t play well the first two games at home this series and they did. They played well tonight and we didn’t. You don’t want it to be like that. It’s called home-court advantage for a reason. But it’s not difficult to play here. We got great fans. I wish the outcome was different at home games for us.”
On the little room for error after going down 3-0 in the series:
“I mean, you can’t go through life talking about what you could have, you should have done. [Expletive] happens and the past is the past. We fought like hell to give ourselves a chance today. Just not the outcome that we anticipated.”
On what needs to change for this group to win a title:
“We didn’t play well enough to win this series for a majority of it. Bad third quarter of the first game. Bad fourth quarter of the second game. They beat us the third game. We didn’t play well at all. Won three in a row. Then tonight was just tough. So, we just didn’t play well enough to win this series.”
On Joe Mazzulla’s first year as Celtics coach:
“We got to the conference finals, Game 7. I don’t think people give him or us enough credit that.
Two days before the season starts, we find out we’re going to have a new coach. We didn’t have Rob [Williams] the first 25, 30 games of the season. We never got a chance to have [Danilo Gallinari], and we got a new coach one day before Media Day. You know, that was an adjustment. We all figured it out. Obviously, we wanted to win the championship. Didn’t happen.
“But I think Joe did a great job. We won 50-some odd games. We got to the Game 7 … Obviously, everybody can be better, learn from this. But I think Joe did a great job this year.”
Read more about the end of the Celtics’ season
- Dan Shaughnessy: Celtics’ loss to Heat in Game 7 was a meltdown of epic proportions in Boston sports
- ‘We let the whole city down:’ With momentum on their side, the Celtics tried to make history. Instead, it’s just another bitter end.
- The Celtics finally ran out of gas in Game 7, but it never should have come to this
- Instant analysis: The Celtics’ worst habits showed up at the worst possible time, and their season is over
- Jaylen Brown on Game 7 loss: ‘I came up short’ after Jayson Tatum got hurt