Jayson Tatum explained the viral workout picture with Kevin Durant


The Celtics would be the “unofficial favorite” to trade for Durant.

Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant have been working lately, but the Celtics star doesn’t want you reading there. Matthew J Lee/Globe Staff

With trade rumors swirling around whether or not the Celtics would trade for Kevin Durant, Celtics star Jayson Tatum worked with the two-time Finals MVP and certainly fueled the fire.

Tatum, however, played down any noise and speculation stemming from the viral image last week. In an interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, Tatum took issue with those who looked at the photo more than it was.

“It goes back to your earlier question, ‘How does it feel to be Jayson Tatum?’ They exaggerate everything I do,” Tatum said. “I’ve known KD since I was in high school. We were on Team USA together. We spent five weeks together last year, from Vegas to Tokyo, and we won the gold medal. We have a connection. Like, he’s my brother.

Not only does Tatum have a years-long connection with Durant, but he also thinks there’s a lot to be gained from training with a player like him.

“I’m not too proud to say that KD is one of the greatest players of all time,” Tatum said. “So if one of the best players wants to train with you and I can learn things from him, why would I say no?

“If you care too much about what other people think, you will go crazy. It’s crazy that I can’t train with someone [without it drawing attention]. That’s all it was. We were working together, trying to improve.

Jaylen Brown was the centerpiece of the Celtics’ trade offer to the Nets for Durant, with Brooklyn wanting at least Marcus Smart and one other player as well as first-round picks.

When Tatum was first asked about the Brown-for-Durant trade rumors, he was being diplomatic.

“I played with [Durant] during the Olympics,” Tatum said in July. “Obviously he’s a great player, but it’s not my decision. I like our team. I like the guys we have.

In an interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Giles earlier in August, Tatum said he and Brown had more work to do together in response to a question about their legacy in Boston.

“We just try to stay in the moment,” Tatum said. “It’s not necessarily about what our legacy would look like if we did this, that, and the third.

“I just try to be the best versions of ourselves, the best players that we can be, and compete at the highest level. I think we really took those next steps last season. We would be the first to tell you that we have more to do, more to accomplish, and we look forward to doing it.

While The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported that the Celtics were Durant’s “unofficial favorite” on Tuesday, The Boston Globes Adam Himmelsbach reiterated one of his previous reports that the Celtics and Nets “didn’t have any real substantive discussions” on Sunday.


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