Celtics' Tatum on Orlando: May as well try to win title if we're going

Sam Amico

Boston Celtics swingman Jayson Tatum said he did consider sitting out the NBA restart in Orlando, but not because of anything related to his contract.

"I saw there were reports out there saying I wasn't going to play because of my contract," Tatum said in a Zoom call with the media. "I never talked to anyone about that...that would be insensitive for me to be worrying about that during this time."

Tatum is set to receive a maximum contract extension in free agency. But doubts about that have been raised recently -- as the coronavirus pandemic is expected to greatly impact the NBA salary cap.

Tatum and the Celtics are among the 22 teams scheduled to resume the season in Orlando at the end of the month. Tatum is averaging 23.6 points and 7.1 rebounds, and Boston (43-21) sits in third place in the Eastern Conference.

So the Celtics expect to be inside the Walt Disney World "bubble" for a while. A long stay could be rewarding, but also a bit tough.

"I'm not thrilled or excited about it because I'm going to be away from my son and family for so long," Tatum said. "I'm old enough to make my own decisions and live with it. I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for me."

Instead, Tatum said the Celtics will be entirely focused on emerging from Orlando with a prize.

"If we're going to go down there, we might as well try to win a championship," Tatum said.