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Celtics’ Jaylen Brown eager to talk shop with Kyrie Irving

Jaylen Brown is looking forward to playing with new teammate Kyrie Irving.john tlumacki/globe staff/file 2017

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The Celtics begin training next week for what should be their most anticipated season since the Big Three opened defense of their NBA title nine years ago, and Jaylen Brown is looking forward to the journey.

After speaking to a group of Boston Public School children in Roxbury about the importance of education and pursuing goals, Brown talked about his excitement with this revamped Celtics team. The Celtics enter camp with 10 new players, two on two-way contracts and another signed to a training camp deal.

Four players return from last year’s team that reached the Eastern Conference finals – Brown, Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier. And expectations have risen considerably after the acquisitions of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.


Brown, considered an outside-the-box thinker, said he has had conversations with Irving, who stunned reporters at All-Star Weekend in February by saying he believes the world is flat. Irving has not backed off that statement.

“The conversations are great, most of the time we don’t even talk basketball,” Brown said. “[Tuesday] was the first time I got to talk to him. He talked about spending a little time in Atlanta [this summer] and I spent a little time in Atlanta [his hometown]. We didn’t cross paths.

“There’s going to be numerous conversations. I’m interested in having a conversation about whether the world is flat or round. It’s going to be an interesting year, I’ll tell you that.”

When asked whether he agreed with Irving, Brown said, “I’m not ready to make my comment or statement on that but what my eyes have told me, the world may appear to be flat. Kyrie may very well have a point, so we’ll see.”

On the court, Brown could be competing for a starting position. Four of the starters are essentially sealed with Horford, Irving, Hayward and likely Marcus Morris. But with Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley gone, there is an opening at the shooting guard/small forward position, perhaps to interchange with Hayward. That opportunity is not lost on Brown, who turns 21 on Oct. 24.


Brown averaged 8.4 points in nearly 21 minutes and 37.9 percent 3-point shooting in the last 25 regular-season games. His playing time was limited in the postseason but he did make some contributions, including 19 points in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“My mind-set is the same in a lot of ways and different in a lot of ways,” he said. “It’s the same in the sense that I’m working, trying to get better. Where it’s different is I know a little bit more. I got my feet a little bit under me now. A little bit more is expected of me. Just accepting that mentally is an exciting time right now.

“I’m completely locked in. I can’t wait for the season to start. We’ve got a lot of great guys that are joining our program and we’ve got a lot of guys we love that left. It’s just new things that are going on I’m just happy to be a part of it and happy to still be here as a Celtic. It’s going to be super exciting. I wish the season were starting tomorrow.”

Of course, the summer was not without anxiety. The Cavaliers requested Brown as part of the Isaiah Thomas deal. The Celtics rejected those overtures but Brown said he ignored the talk.


“You hear a lot of stuff, you hear a lot of rumors,” Brown said. “It’s hard to pick what’s real and what’s not so I just don’t even pay attention to any of it. But I’m still here, still on the Celtics, happy to be here. That’s all I’m focused on right now.”

Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.