Celtics’ Jayson Tatum reveals a huge risk involved in NBA restart for guys like him
The resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season has left many players with palpable doubts about going to the bubble in Orlando. For some it’s just a way to cash the rest of their checks, for others like Boston Celtics wing Jayson Tatum, it could represent a massive risk ahead of their first big payday.
“[There’s] a lot of guys in my situation; a lot of guys are going to be free agents,” Tatum said during a conference call Tuesday afternoon, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “… We’ve been off for four months, not being able to be in the facility. Obviously, we’re supposed to stay at home and not having the normal access that we would have to the training facility or the weight room or the gym. And then, [we’re] kind of being asked to ramp up and pick it back up at such a rapid pace and go down there and play. Guys are putting a lot on the line.”
Jayson Tatum is due for a maximum contract extension of his rookie deal at the end of this season, an offer that could pay him in the neighborhood of $30 million per year for the next five seasons. Others like Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, and Bam Adebayo are in a similar predicament — potentially risking the biggest paycheck of their lives to finish out the 2019-20 season.
“Nothing is guaranteed,” said Tatum. “No matter if they say, ‘You’re young enough, no matter what you’re still getting paid.’ I think it’s still putting a lot on the line. I know a lot of people won’t really care that much because they feel like we make so much money, which is true, but … I understand guys like Bertans that decided to sit out because he has dealt with injuries, and he was looking to get paid this summer.
“I mean, it makes sense. Everybody has their own reasons for not playing, and I don’t fault anybody. It’s a tough decision to go through. But yeah, I was voicing for them to make some type of adjustment that could give some guys some stability going into this time that’s so uncertain.”
Tatum was previously rumored to potentially sit out the restart due to the risk for injury, but he clarified that family was actually his biggest concern, noting he would join his Celtics teammates in Orlando soon enough.