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If Jaylen Brown is unhappy in Boston, he's not letting it affect his play

BOSTON  -- Jaylen Brown's recent media tour is causing some concern about his future in Boston. He's been noncommittal about staying with the Celtics long-term, and the comments are coming at a time when the Celtics really don't need any outside distractions.

But if Brown is unhappy in Boston, he isn't showing it on the court. And rather than freak out over something that may or may not happen down the road, let's appreciate what Brown is doing for the Celtics in the present.

Because since the All-Star break, Brown has been the best player on the Celtics and has been playing some incredibly sound and stellar basketball at a time when the team has needed it the most. It's no secret that Jayson Tatum has been struggling with his shot, but Brown has more than made up for his star teammate's shooting woes.

Since the break, Brown has set the tone and led the charge on offense for Boston. Tatum has still led the team in scoring half of their 14 games since the break, but Brown has been so much more efficient on offense, hitting 50.9 percent of his shots from the field and 40.2 percent from 3-point range. He's had it going from all three levels, attacking the basket with authority and knocking down nearly every mid-range shot he takes. Once Brown gets someone to bite on one of his moves, he can pretty much hit from anywhere on the floor.

It's been the cherry on top of a career season for Brown, and he's showing no signs of slowing down. Not even his comments distracted him from torching the Kings on Tuesday night, when he dropped 27 points off 10-for-16 shooting to go along with five rebounds and four assists in a huge Boston win.

It capped off an incredible five-game stretch in which Brown hit 55 percent of his shots (including 47.5 percent from downtown) and averaged 31.4 points per game. He's been really damn good.

"I feel great," said Brown after Tuesday's win. "I'm on a 50-win team right now that you can't take for granted. Tonight was the 50th win, and right now, I'm focused on helping to lead my team for another playoff run. In terms of speculation et cetera, I can't speculate on anything above what I'm doing right now."

That was his attempt to move on from his recent comments in the New York Times and The Ringer, though it backfired a bit when he said he wanted to clarify a few things -- and then proceeded to not clarify anything. 

If you're unfamiliar with the comments, both interviews are definitely worth the read. They may frustrate you a bit, but Brown has every right to voice his opinion of Boston. And how he's been treated in his seven seasons with the Celtics. And if it comes to it, ultimately move on at the end of his contract after next season.

It's this response when asked about staying in Boston long-term that has green teamers biting their finger nails.

"I don't know. As long as I'm needed. It's not up to me. We'll see how they feel about me over time and I feel about them over time," he told Logan Murdock of The Ringer. "Hopefully, whatever it is, it makes sense. But I will stay where I'm wanted. I will stay where I'm needed and treated correct. 

"I just enjoy the time that you have now. If it's your whole career, it's your whole career. If it's not, it's not," he added. "Some of the greatest players of all time haven't finished with their organization. Michael Jordan retired a Wizard."

In the NBA, max contracts are already negotiated for the player and the team. The Celtics will be able to offer Brown more than any other team, but he made it clear over the last week that it's not just going to be about the money.

While he did paint an unpleasant picture regarding his current state of mind with the city or Boston, it sounds like what Brown wants the most is security. The security that he won't be the one involved in trade rumors should he sign a max extension, as he's been when nearly any superstar player hits the trade block.

The most baffling part of the comments is the timing, since they come at a time when the focus should be on winning a title and nothing else. (It should be noted that Brown did his NYT interview a few weeks ago and the one for The Ringer back in January.) Talk of this summer or two summers from now are an unneeded distraction, and Brown had to address them (or mostly dismiss them) after his performance against the Kings.

But in a situation where Brown doesn't have a ton of leverage, he decided to play the few cards that he does possess. He put the Celtics on notice that they need to make him feel wanted over these next few months, or the summer could get really interesting.

What's the best cure for all of this? Winning. Mainly, winning a title. While the pressure to win a title has been high all season, it seems like it has to happen this season with the Celtics. Brown's comments make it seem like the team's window may be closing faster than anyone expected.

But while his comments may be a bit of a distraction off the floor, Brown is not letting his feelings affect his play on it. If they fuel another epic run from the swingman this postseason, he probably won't have to worry about feeling unwanted again.

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