Celtics

‘They exaggerate everything I do’: Jayson Tatum explained viral workout image with Kevin Durant

The Celtics are reportedly the "unofficial frontrunner" to trade for Durant.

Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant worked out recently, but the Celtics star doesn't want you to read into it. 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 out with the two-time Finals MVP, and certainly fueled the fire.

Tatum, however, played down whatever noise and speculation came from the viral image last week. In an interview with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, Tatum took exception with those who looked into the picture for more than what it was.

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

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Not only does Tatum have a connection with Durant that’s lasted several years, he also believes that there’s a lot to gain from working out with a player like him.

“I’m not too proud to say KD’s one of the best players ever,” Tatum said. “So, if like one of the best players ever wants to work out with you and I can learn some things from him, why would I say no?

“If you worry too much about what other people think, you’ll drive yourself crazy. It’s crazy that I can’t work out with someone [without it drawing attention]. That’s all it was. We were working out together, trying to get better.”

Jaylen Brown has been the reported centerpiece of the Celtics’ trade offer to the Nets for Durant, with Brooklyn wanting at least Marcus Smart and another player plus first-round draft picks.

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

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

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

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“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.

“Just trying to be the best versions of ourselves, the best players we can be, and compete at the highest level. I think we really took those next steps last season. We’d be the first to tell you that we’ve got more to do, more to accomplish. And we’re eager to do so.”

While The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported that the Celtics are the “unofficial frontrunner” for Durant on Tuesday, The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach reiterated a previous report of his that the Celtics and Nets “have not had any real discussions of substance” on Sunday.

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