What’s causing the rift in the Celtics locker room? | Good Word with Goodwill

Yahoo Sports senior NBA reporter Vincent Goodwill is joined by Jared Greenberg of TNT & NBA TV to discuss Boston’s stunning 3-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals and why the decision to dismiss Ime Udoka before the season may still be causing tension in the Celtics locker room. Hear the full conversation on “Good Word with Goodwill”, and subscribe to Ball Don’t Lie on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Video Transcript


JARED GREENBERG: There will be all of the rumors that start that go back to what we had a year and a half ago where it's Tatum and Brown can't win. I don't think it's that. I think there's something else in that locker room right now.

VINCENT GOODWILL: Absolutely. That locker room is broken.

JARED GREENBERG: It is absolutely-- there is a rift. There is something. I don't know if-- maybe it's a lot of things. Maybe it's the coach. I'll say this.

A couple of weeks ago, maybe-- no, a couple of months ago-- this was in the regular season. I asked a Celtics player about the relationship with Joe Mazzulla. And the only answer I got was, he's not Ime Udoka.

VINCENT GOODWILL: There's a million ways that we can dissect that particular statement. You're right. And the one thing is, those guys, to this day-- I think the last time it was spoken about, they seemed to say, we don't know why they fired Ime.

It's Marcus Smart or Jaylen Brown, one of those guys said it. They hadn't talked to him. I think it was Jaylen Brown. And he said he missed him, but he hadn't talked to him or whatever. It just seemed really eerie and cryptic. And it just sounded like there was a disconnect between the players and the front office.

JARED GREENBERG: From ownership to Brad Stevens and everybody else in that office in that circle, they wanted so badly for this story and the details of it not to get out. That they went as far-- which, I'm not saying whether it was right or wrong. But it's smart, if you don't want to get it out, to let any players or agents know because that's how things leak out in this league.

They leak out through players and their agents, mostly the agents. You know that. You and I covered this league for a long time. And I think the players were taken aback a little bit like, all right, I get it. Whether I agree or disagree is not the point. But can you give me a little respect to know why the guy who just took us to the NBA Finals, and now we're the favorite to win it, is not back?

And again, I'm not on either side of this. I'm just telling you, I'm presenting what I think may be the start of what was--

VINCENT GOODWILL: The disconnect?

JARED GREENBERG: --the disconnect in that locker room.