Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum is one of the fastest rising superstars in the NBA. Since entering the league in 2017, Tatum continues to prove that the Celtics made the right decision to trade the top pick to the Philadelphia 76ers and select him using the No. 3 overall pick. As of now, Tatum is already viewed as one of the young players that could lead the Celtics back to the NBA Finals and end their title drought.
With what he has done so far for the Celtics, it would not be a surprise if Tatum receives a huge payday from the team. Despite the financial complications of the coronavirus pandemic, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports revealed in a recent appearance on the Celtics Talk podcast that Tatum is "leaning towards" signing a maximum contract extension with the Celtics when he is eligible.
"Tatum's got to make some decisions… Do I sign for your four- or five-year extension? Or do I play it out and just become a restricted free agent and hope that the cap goes up afterwards so then I can sign a max still for more money? From what I'm being told, Jayson at this point is leaning towards signing max deal when he's eligible and going from there," Blakely said, as quoted by HoopsHype.Tatum still has two years left on his four-year, $30 million rookie contract, but he would be eligible to sign a maximum contract extension with the Celtics in the 2020 offseason. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Tatum's maximum contract extension was expected to range between $181.25 million and $217.5 million. However, with the financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic, it's no longer expected to be anywhere near those numbers.
Though it still remains unknown how much exactly his max contract extension will be, it seems like Tatum is already determined to make a long-term commitment to the Celtics. It's hard to blame Tatum for making such a decision. The Celtics are the team that gave him the opportunity to prove himself in the league.
Also, the Celtics have shown on numerous occasions how much they value Tatum, especially when they made him untouchable when the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis became available on the trade market. The Celtics have yet to officially announce it, but most people already consider Tatum as the face of Boston's franchise.
Before thinking about his maximum contract extension, Tatum should first focus on the nearing resumption of the 2019-20 season. Before the NBA went on a hiatus due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Celtics were sitting in the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 43-21 record. As of now, the Celtics are emerging as the biggest threat to the Milwaukee Bucks in representing the Eastern Conference in the 2020 NBA Finals.