NBA

Jayson Tatum Earns Way Less Salary Than You’d Think Starring for the Boston Celtics

While the Boston Celtics have boasted plenty of stars during their franchise history, Jayson Tatum is currently the big name in Beantown basketball. During his third season in the pros, the forward has taken his game to the next level. His salary, however, hasn’t caught up with the other players around the league.

Although everyone in the NBA makes plenty of money in the grand scheme of things, Jayson Tatum’s salary isn’t breaking the bank. If anything, he’s currently a bargain for the Boston Celtics.

Jayson Tatum’s road to the NBA

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These days, most NBA stars are household names before they ever sign their first professional contract. That was certainly true of Jayson Tatum.

Tatum made a name for himself in St. Louis, Missouri, where he dominated both the high school and AAU scenes. While he committed to Duke University before his senior season, the big man didn’t stop rest on his laurels after signing on the dotted line; he took home the Gatorade National Player of the Year title and rose to the top of his high school recruiting class.

While Tatum’s collegiate career got off to a late start due to a foot injury, he quickly made up for lost time. During his freshman year in Durham, he averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per outing. That campaign, however, ended in disappointment as Duke fell to South Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Despite that postseason failure, Tatum decided to leave college after a single season, entering into the 2017 NBA draft.

Becoming a star with the Boston Celtics

Heading into the 2017 NBA draft, the Boston Celtics held the first-overall pick. Danny Ainge, however, traded down and snagged Jayson Tatum in the third spot. While that move could have backfired, things have worked out pretty well in Beantown.

During his first season in the league, Tatum slotted straight into Boston’s starting lineup and averaged 13.9 points and five rebounds per outing; although those numbers may not seem mind-blowing in isolation, they were enough to land the forward on the All-Rookie First-Team.

The forward made marginal improvements across the board in 2018-19 but truly exploded this season. Through the first 60 games of the 2019-20 campaign, Tatum has averaged 23.3 points, seven rebounds, and three assists per outing; he made his first career NBA All-Star game and seems to be growing into the elite two-way player that scouts predicted he could become.

Jayson Tatum’s salary is still a bargain for the Boston Celtics

In the NBA, the biggest stars can command some truly massive salaries. Jayson Tatum, however, is still a bit of a bargain for the Boston Celtics.

According to Spotrac’s financial data, Tatum made just over $5.5 million as an NBA rookie. His salary climbed to $6.7 million last year and currently sits at $7.8 million. If nothing changes in the offseason, the forward will earn almost $10 million next season; he’ll also carry a $12.9 million qualifying offer for 2021-22.

While those numbers may sound like comparative peanuts, they do make sense. Tatum is only in his third full season in the league and still plays on his rookie contract; the Celtics picked up the option for both the 2019 and 2020 seasons, keeping his salary low. Things will certainly change in the future, though. Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal crunched the numbers, and, depending on the nuts and bolts of the contract, Tatum will command between $30 and $50 million in annual salary once he signs a contract extension.

Whenever that contract extension comes, though, one thing is clear: Jayson Tatum’s annual salary won’t be below $10 million for long.

Stats courtesy of Sports-Reference and Basketball-Reference