With Jayson Tatum eligible for a contract extension this offseason, the Boston Celtics star can reportedly expect to receive a max offer from the team.
ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst reported last week that the Boston Celtics will “most likely” offer the 22-year-old a max contract.
“If Jayson Tatum is the superstar that they envisioned when they began this whole rebuilding process when they traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for all of those draft picks hoping to land a player like this, we could see glory days for the Celtics again,” he said. “But it’s very much up in the air, and I’m going to tell you, they’re going to have to pay him like it because after this season ends, he is going to get most likely a max contract. They’re going to bet that he becomes that player.”
Tatum, who is due to earn $9.9 million next year, proved his worth during the now-suspended campaign, averaging 23.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game while also getting the nod as an NBA All-Star for the first time in his career. In addition, he had a streak of 30-plus points per game for five straight contests from just over a week before the season was put on pause, joining Larry Bird and John Havlicek as the only players in Celtics history with five such points-per-game streaks.
This report hardly comes as a surprise as the Celtics have done a great job prioritizing their homegrown talent in recent years. They re-signed Marcus Smart to a four-year contract in the summer of 2018 and last year handed Jaylen Brown a four-year deal worth $115 million.
One potential complicating factor for Tatum is the uncertainty around the NBA salary cap due to the coronavirus pandemic. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported in January that the cap projection for next season was $115 million. Max extension values are based on 25 percent of the salary cap. This could either make him hesitant to re-sign or make him want to sign for security while the fiscal part of the business fluctuates over the next couple of seasons.
As Tatum blossoms into the category of NBA elites, the core of him, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Marcus Smart will be a force to reckon with over the next couple of seasons.
And that’s not to mention that the three draft picks they have in this year’s draft that could either be used or traded.
The future of the Boston Celtics looks bright.