Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) tries to pivot around Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) during the first half of Game 5 of an Eastern Conference semifinal in the NBA basketball playoffs, Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)AP
While some stars around the league have a lot of input on the roster around them, the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum doesn’t wade too far into those discussions. He’ll try to recruit some players, such as ex-Blazers guard Damian Lillard this summer.
But for the most part, Tatum told Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes that he stays away from giving too much input. If he does have any conversations with Boston president Brad Stevens, Tatum said it’s “about whether I would like to play with this guy one day or do I think he would be a good fit.” So, nothing too over-the-top.
As a result, Tatum doesn’t hear about breaking Celtics news until the public also finds out, he revealed in his conversation with Haynes. That’s why when the Celtics made huge moves this offseason — whether that was the Jrue Holiday deal or the Marcus Smart/Kristaps Porzingis trade — it also caught him by surprise.
“I saw on Twitter that we traded for Jrue Holiday and likewise with K.P. and trading Smart,” Tatum told Haynes. “I never want to get involved with things like that. My job is to show up and play. It’s not my job to trade and handpick guys or anything like that.”
To be fair to Tatum, the front office has surrounded him with talented teams — especially in the last couple seasons. The C’s themselves are taking some gambles by bringing in Holiday and Porzingis, but they’re upgrades for a title-contending roster. It’s clear, too, ownership is willing to spend to ensure the Celtics are competing for the foreseeable future.
Still, it’s admittedly bittersweet for Tatum as he saw multiple teammates depart from last year’s roster. He spent extended time with Smart, Robert Williams III and Grant Williams, but they’re all on different teams this upcoming season. But Tatum said he understands the business aspect of the league, plus the Celtics made some big upgrades on the roster.
“A lot of those guys that we traded, I was really close with,” Tatum said. “I spent my entire career thus far with Smart and almost my whole career with Grant and Rob, and a year with Malcolm (Brogdon). It’s always tough to see guys leave, especially when it’s on short notice.”