Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Tatum and the Celtics have agreed to a five-year, $195 million designated rookie max extension. The contract will begin during the 2021-22 season and it includes a player option in the fifth and final year.
“When he’d talk about [the contract] it was never about the dollar amount,” Tatum’s mother said. “He wanted to be a max player because that signifies your level of talent and the caliber of player you are. I think that was always the priority for him, striving to be one of the best and to leave his mark in this league. So I think that’s always his focus. When you work like he does and have the passion for the game he does, the money will come.”
“I think he would love the idea of being able to spend his entire career here if that meant putting banners up,” Cole said. “He wants to not just say that he played here his whole career, but that he brought the city of Boston a couple of banners and his number is retired. I’m certain he would love that.”
[Exhales strongly] I never had serious doubts about Jayson Tatum signing a max contract extension with the Celtics. But, with players seizing more control with every passing moment, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected.
Expect Tatum to wear Celtics green for at least the next 5 seasons. He’s entering the final year of his rookie contract (a $9 million bargain!). His salary triples in 2021-22 as the extension kicks-in and can climb higher throughout the years as Tatum crosses the All-NBA threshold and reaches additional (yet to be revealed) incentives.
Tatum (like Utah’s Donovan Mitchell) insisted the 5th and final year be a player option. As I stated earlier, this option is just another way for a player to assume as much control as possible.
Danny Ainge is on the clock. He can’t be losing assets (regardless of the scenario) without compensation. Ownership needs to pony up the cash for any player who can help this team make and win the Finals. Tatum and Jaylen Brown won’t stand (or stick around) for anything less.
On Page 2, assessing the Celtics depth on the wing.
The Celtics are built around the strengths of their starting wings, but Hayward’s exit left a need for at least one of the young players to contribute. Unless Langford and/or Nesmith are ready for minutes, the Celtics will be thin behind their starters. They drafted two highly-regarded shooters in Nesmith and Pritchard, but otherwise have not addressed their shooting weakness. If anything, they probably got worse in that category, losing Hayward and his 38.3-percent 3-point mark. If Langford fails to take a big leap from behind the arc, Edwards remains a non-factor and Nesmith isn’t quite ready for consistent playing time as a rookie, the Celtics will need to rely even more heavily on their starters for shooting.
Ainge needs to find a veteran wing. Relying on Romeo Langford (still in a cast following wrist surgery) and rookie Aaron Nesmith is not an acceptable scenario.
Some might say wait until the trade deadline, but I find that approach to be somewhat risky.
Perhaps a trade for an unhappy Evan Fournier? How about the Bulls’ Thad Young? Use the Kanter TPE to get Reggie Bullock off the Knicks? Sign Glen Robinson III or Gerald Green?