Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum has done a great job in his rookie season, leading the team to the Eastern Conference Finals despite not having Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward on their roster. Though he’s currently not the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award, many people will agree that Tatum lived up to, or even exceed the expectations from a lottery pick. With his incredible performance, the Celtics have two options on Tatum this summer, wait for him to fully develop into a superstar, or use him as a trade chip in a blockbuster trade.
Knowing Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge, it will not be a surprise if he includes Jayson Tatum in a trade package if the right deal comes along in the upcoming offseason. Recently, in Boston Globe’s Sports Q, a fan asked Chad Finn if it makes sense for the Celtics to trade Tatum for Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers. Tatum and Simmons are both frontrunners to win the Rookie of the Year award, but the latter has the edge because of his consistent performance in the regular season and in the playoffs.
“Well, acknowledging that Simmons is a much better player than he generally showed in the Sixers’ second-round loss to the Celtics, and that he’ll eventually learn to shoot competently, perhaps even with the correct hand, I would not trade Jayson Tatum straight up for him, and I don’t think the Celtics would either.”
If Finn will be the one to decide, he won’t agree to trade Jayson Tatum for Ben Simmons. However, there are several factors the Celtics should consider before deciding not to proceed with the deal.
Talent-wise, the Tatum-for-Simmons trade looks like a fair deal. Both rookies have shown their potentials to become superstars in the league and have drawn comparisons to future NBA Hall of Famers. Some people find similarities between Tatum and Celtics legend Paul Pierce, while Simmons is believed to be the next LeBron James.
Regarding the fit, the deal also makes sense for both the Celtics and the Sixers. The Sixers will be entering the 2018-19 NBA season with a very young and talented roster wherein Jayson Tatum will serve as their starting small forward. The potential trade will enable Markelle Fultz to take full responsibility of playmaking, while Dario Saric will be given the opportunity to start at the four.
Meanwhile, the return of Gordon Hayward makes the deal more reasonable for the Celtics. Tatum may have shown his capability to play as a power forward, but no one can deny the fact that he’s undersized for the position. Ben Simmons could share the frontcourt with Hayward and Al Horford, giving the much-needed help in terms of rebounding, scoring, and protecting the rim.