Celtics: Jayson Tatum’s emotional reaction to Lamar Stevens-Grizzlies trade

Celtics star Jayson Tatum opened up on the lesser-known impact Lamar Stevens’ departure had on the team after his trade to the Grizzlies.

Celtics' Jayson Tatum looking at a puzzle with a missing piece, with the missing puzzle piece having Lamar Stevens' face on it

The Boston Celtics made a trade on Wednesday that, while not exactly needle-moving, helps bolster their frontcourt depth in preparation for the season’s stretch run.

They dealt away Lamar Stevens and two second-round picks to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Xavier Tillman Sr., an unheralded big man who racks up defensive stats in a manner that’s hard to ignore.

Tillman should slot in as one of the Celtics’ rotation players behind Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford, already making him an upgrade over Stevens, someone who hasn’t been part of the Boston rotation in any meaningful capacity.

Nevertheless, one understated effect of trades is that players get to see people they’ve built a relationship and go to war with depart just as easily as that.

Jayson Tatum, in particular, expressed how Stevens’ departure affected him when he learned of the trade prior to the Celtics’ 125-117 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

“It’s tough. This time of the year, with the trade deadline being tomorrow, losing [him]. Maybe he didn’t play as much but his personality, how hard he worked, he was a great teammate. Everybody loved Lamar,” Tatum said, per Noa Dalzell of SB Nation’s Celtics Blog.

“To wake up from my nap earlier and see that he got traded was tough. The locker room kind of did feel empty today, coming to the game and he wasn’t here.”

Lamar Stevens hasn’t been with the team long; the 26-year old forward only joined the Celtics this past offseason after the San Antonio Spurs waived him.

But he was pushing Jayson Tatum and company hard in practice, and in his limited minutes, he always gave it his all on the hardwood.

Now, Stevens should have an opportunity to spread his wings on the a depleted Grizzlies team that’s been beset by one calamity after another. Tatum hopes that the 26-year old forward is able to make the most out of this upcoming opportunity.

“Hopefully, at his next stop, he gets an opportunity. He works extremely hard and we’re gonna miss him,” Tatum added.

In 19 games this season for the Celtics, Lamar Stevens is averaging 2.8 points and 1.6 rebounds — numbers that should increase once he earns minutes for the Grizzlies.

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