The Boston Celtics have become one of the league’s top teams over the last few seasons. Star forward Jayson Tatum has been at the forefront of the Celtics’ success and bright future ahead. With that in mind, Tatum has just secured his fate with the franchise.
Jayson Tatum’s continued rise to stardom
Since entering the league as the third overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, Jayson Tatum has experienced a continued upward trajectory.
His progression took another massive step forward last season as he secured his first All-Star Game selection and All-NBA Third Team nod. He’s coming off averaging career highs with 23.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 1.4 steals. The 22-year-old took it up a notch in the playoffs averaging a double-double with 25.7 points and 10.0 rebounds.
Tatum has cemented himself as a legitimate two-way talent through his first few seasons. His promising future ahead has also helped him secure his first massive contract in historic fashion from the Celtics.
Jayson Tatum earns a max rookie extension from the Celtics
The Boston Celtics have moved the last few years toward building around their young core group.
General manager Danny Ainge took that step further on Sunday afternoon by working out a five-year max rookie extension worth up to $195 million with star forward Jayson Tatum, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Tatum was in the final year of his four-year, $30 million rookie deal that will pay him $9.8 million for the 2020-21 season. The expectation around the situation was the Celtics would have an extension in place for their star forward.
The contract solidifies him as the cornerstone piece of the franchise and is the biggest deal in Celtics’ history. Boston will have him in place for the next handful of seasons to build the team around with the hope of competing for an NBA title.
Tatum’s continued improvement in his third year helped put him in the position to secure the massive extension. It’s also a shining example of the Celtics’ tremendous faith that he can be the face of the franchise for many years ahead. The focus now shifts toward the other parts of the roster to guide the team to legitimate NBA title contention.
Other moves needed ahead
Since Brad Stevens took over as head coach, the Boston Celtics have been a playoff constant in the Eastern Conference.
The franchise has cemented itself as a powerhouse, including three Eastern Conference Finals appearances in the last four years. However, the team hasn’t taken the next step forward; instead, it fell short in each instance.
Danny Ainge has added talent with All-Star point guard Kemba Walker before last season, but the team failed to move past the Miami Heat. Walker struggled for portions of the playoffs while the team couldn’t hit the next gear. The 30-year-old is in the second year of his four-year, $140.7 million deal, including a $37.6 million player option for the 2023 season.
Jayson Tatum has shown promise he could develop into an elite talent, but it will take more around him to lift the team forward. The Celtics have Jaylen Brown entering the first year of his four-year, $107 million deal. Brown has taken strides toward stardom, but the team is missing another element. There will be a greater offensive load on both after Gordon Hayward’s offseason departure.
The front office has remained active in piecing the roster together, but it may take another significant addition. The championship window is there in Boston; it will be on their young core to take that next step toward legitimate contention.