Over the last few seasons, the Boston Celtics have moved toward an infusion of proven talent along with young promising players to lead the charge for the franchise. That direction has helped push the franchise into an encouraging spot of being one of the top teams in the conference behind their balanced play on the court.
However, there have been some lingering questions concerning forward Jayson Tatum’s long-term future with the franchise after his name was mentioned in trade rumors over the summer. The former Duke product has made some interesting comments around his long-term plans in Boston.
Jayson Tatum’s continued rise
Since entering the league, there has been plenty of optimism around Tatum’s development on the court. He has been garnered as one of the superstars of the next generation in the NBA.
Throughout his first few seasons, Tatum has shown plenty of flashes of promise behind his play that began with his stellar play in the playoffs in his rookie campaign. The 21-year-old has taken another step this year as he has become a more consistent scoring factor, averaging a career-high 21.6 points while shooting 42.0% from the floor and 35.6% from beyond the arc along with 7.1 rebounds per contest.
His production has increased as the season has worn on as he’s averaging 23.8 points 44.0 percent shooting in December. That includes him topping more than 20 points five times and is coming off a season-high 39 points against the Charlotte Hornets, which earned him praise from star point guard Kemba Walker as being touted as a “future All-Star.”
Following that outing, Tatum also had comments that have many Celtics fans buzzing about his future.
Jayson Tatum touches on Celtics future
Tatum has engrained himself as one of the core pieces in the puzzle for the Celtics over the last couple of seasons. His play has been a significant part of helping create tremendous stability for the franchise.
With guard Jaylen Brown receiving a new long-term extension this past offseason, it has put Tatum’s future with the team under stronger scrutiny. The 21-year-old recently made some intriguing comments as he stated that he hopes to play with Brown for the long haul, according to Brian Robb of the Boston Sports Journal.
That would reasonably lead to the notion that Tatum has no desire to play with another team. He’s currently in the third year of his four-year, $30 million deal, which includes a roughly $12.9 million qualifying offer that the front office can extend for the 2021-22 season.
That would make Tatum a restricted free agent, allowing the Celtics to match any offer that he is presented from another team. Given his continued rise, it’s hard to envision Boston not exercising that option or offering him a long-term extension before then.
Celtics pushing towards title contention in East
The Celtics are one of the few franchises that has an extremely bright future ahead of them. They have a healthy mixture of rising young talent and proven veterans that have led the way.
Boston is in the position to make some noise in the Eastern Conference, which they currently hold the second-best record in the conference trailing only the Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics could have a potentially prime opportunity to make a deep run in the playoffs. Still, there are other formidable teams in the East, such as the Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Toronto Raptors, and Miami Heat that have championship aspirations.
If Boston hopes to reach their lofty goals, they will need players like Tatum and Brown to continue to excel on the court. The future may be bright for the franchise, but they will only go as far as their young talent can take them.