Jayson Tatum will be seeing green in addition to wearing it. The budding superstar signed a five-year, maximum extension with the Celtics on Sunday, reports ESPN.
Tatum, 22, averaged 23.4 points, seven rebounds and three assists per game last season. The deal is worth $163 million guaranteed, though it can escalate to around $195 million if Tatum meets All-NBA criteria. Boston originally selected Tatum with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 draft. Let’s grade the deal.
This is an obvious one. There was no question Boston was offering Tatum the full max, and he’s probably the most deserving of anyone who signed it this year. With no disrespect to Donovan Mitchell or De’Aaron Fox, Tatum right now is the most complete player.
He has the ability to become a scoring champion offensively and can capably guard perimeter stars on the other end of the floor. Tatum’s size and athleticism are ideal for his position. His length makes him a tough cover for anyone, and the fluidity to his game at such a young age is remarkable. In 2020, he shot 40.3% from three despite averaging 7.1 attempts per game. Tatum has elite scoring ability and just signed a deal that will take him to only the early years of his prime. As long as he’s in Boston, Danny Ainge will have a legit star to build around.
And as a bonus for Tatum, this deal reportedly includes a player option after the fourth season. That gives Tatum an opportunity to enter free agency in 2025 when he would be only 27 years old. He could survey his options on the open market, opt in for one more season, or even opt out and re-sign a new max deal with Boston. The Celtics would have certainly loved to have all five years locked in. But building goodwill with your franchise cornerstone is ultimately a small price to pay when he‘s willing to commit for so long. Both parties will benefit from this extension immensely.