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Danny Ainge’s bold response on Suns’ chances to draft Jayson Tatum in 2017

Danny Ainge, Jayson Tatum, Celtics

Boston Celtics swingman Jayson Tatum said during an appearance on Showtime’s “All The Smoke” podcast he initially believed he would be drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the summer of 2017.

But according to Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge, the Suns never had a chance to land Tatum.

Boston was picking at No. 3, one spot ahead of Phoenix, and Ainge said on Zach Lowe’s podcast he was pretty set on drafting Tatum.

The Celtics originally had the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but they traded with the Philadelphia 76ers to move down to the No. 3 spot.

Ainge said the rationale behind that trade was the knowledge the Celtics would still have the opportunity to select Tatum third overall.

This was all unbeknownst to Tatum, who apparently developed an affinity for Phoenix.

Tatum told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson (the co-hosts of “All The Smoke”) Suns head coach Earl Watson said the Suns were zeroed in on drafting Tatum (via Ryne Nelson of SLAM):

“I called my fam, my mom, I’m like, Yo, I think I want to go to Phoenix.” Tatum said on a recent episode of SHOWTIME’s All That Smoke. “Earl Watson, he’s like, ‘You come to Phoenix, you and D-Book, two light-skinned killers, I’ma let y’all rock out.’

“I’m sitting in the car, like, This sound good. I think I want to come here,” Tatum said.

Instead, the Suns ended up with Josh Jackson. It would not have mattered.

Ainge suggested the Celtics had long coveted Tatum, and it has become very apparent why they were so high on the Duke star.

Tatum was having a breakout season prior to the suspension of play, averaging 23.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc.