Some within the Boston Celtics organization were reportedly alarmed by the lack of reaction to Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving stomping on the team's logo this season.
According to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, a source said the Celtics players' flippant response to Irving's logo stomp came across as a "red flag they did not exhibit the same sense of pride in the organization that has been the Celtics' calling card in years past."
The incident in question occurred after Boston's Game 4 loss to Brooklyn in their first-round playoff series to go down 3-1:
Boston went on to lose the series 4-1 to the Nets and Irving, who played for the Celtics for two seasons before joining the Nets in 2019.
The Celtics acquired Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017. With that move, there was hope Boston would return to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Boston did reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 2018 and the second round of the playoffs in 2019, but Irving joined the Nets after just two years in Boston.
Kyrie's departure did little to deter the Celtics last season, as they reached the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to the Miami Heat. After that deep run, expectations were high for the Celtics entering the 2020-21 campaign.
Despite Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both playing at an All-Star level, the Celtics went just 36-36 and needed to win a play-in game in order to reach the playoffs as the No. 7 seed.
Brown missed the playoffs due to injury, but the Celtics didn't have the makings of a team poised for a deep run regardless.
After this season's failures, the Celtics have already made some significant changes. Chief among them was head coach Brad Stevens' decision to leave coaching and take a position in the front office.
On Friday, the Celtics traded guard Kemba Walker, the No. 16 overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft and a 2025 second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for veteran big man Al Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-round pick.
Horford was a defensive force and a locker-room leader for the Celtics during his three years in Boston from 2016 to 2019.
Weiss noted that Horford and guard Marcus Smart built a "culture of defensive accountability" in Boston that wasn't present this season.
With Horford back in the fold, perhaps the Celtics can take steps toward turning the page on a disappointing 2020-21 campaign and reinstating the culture that brought them so much success in prior years.