Celtics Notes: Holiday, Brown, White, Tatum

A harrowing family experience in 2016 helped Jrue Holiday keep things in perspective when he got the surprise news that he had been traded from Milwaukee to Portland last summer, writes Mirin Fader of The Ringer. Eight years ago, Holiday’s wife, Lauren, was diagnosed with a brain tumor while she was pregnant with their first child. Holiday took a leave from the NBA to care for Lauren, and she was able to deliver the baby and later have the tumor safely removed.

Holiday said dealing with that type of life-and-death situation gave him a calmness to accept any basketball fate. He embraced the change, even though his family was settled in Milwaukee and he expected his long-term future to be there after helping the Bucks win the 2021 championship.

“I think it helped me prepare for [the trade],” he said. “Life does hit you in different types of ways at different times, and maybe just subconsciously you learn this lesson. … I know some people get down on life … but I think for me, and I don’t know why—maybe it is because of the support of my family, maybe it is because of my faith — but it’s always turned out to be something that I grew from and made me so much stronger.”

Holiday didn’t have to figure out his future in Portland, as the Trail Blazers dealt him to the Celtics five days later. He welcomed the chance to join another veteran team with title hopes, but he knew he had to figure out the best way to fit in.

“Every team is a puzzle,” Holiday said. “And I’m a part of that puzzle. … So whatever the team needs from me: Some nights it might be scoring, some nights it might be shooting corner threes or being a decoy. It might be setting screens or rebounding. I think that just comes with the type of talent and character that we have on this team.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Jaylen Brown is a legitimate candidate for All-Defensive honors, although he might get overlooked because the Celtics have so many high-level defenders, observes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports. Forsberg notes that Brown reminded voters of his defensive prowess on Saturday when he held Zion Williamson to 1-of-6 shooting with three turnovers as the primary defender on the Pelicans star.
  • The $500K bonus that Derrick White earned by reaching 185 made three-pointers will affect Boston’s cap figure this season and in 2024/25, according to Brian Robb of MassLive. With tax penalties included, Robb estimates that White’s bonus will cost the team more than $1.5MM this year, although he adds that ownership shouldn’t mind paying extra for White’s breakout performance. White has the same bonus in his contract for next season and it’s now considered likely, so his cap hit will be raised to about $20.6MM.
  • Celtics players weren’t happy with the way they finished the regular season last year and they’re determined not to repeat that mistake, per Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “I think last year we were like so antsy to get back to the Finals that we had a few bad losses in the last few weeks of the season,” Jayson Tatum said. “We went to six games in that first-round [series against the Hawks]. We may have took some things for granted. This year we’ve done a really good job of not skipping steps and respecting every day, every game, just trying to get better, as cliché as that sounds.”

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