If the Boston Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, it’s very possible Jayson Tatum would be involved.
The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported that the possibility of including Tatum in a deal was “discussed extensively” between the Pelicans and Celtics. That is likely why the Los Angeles Lakers (or another suitor) were unable to make a deal with New Orleans before the trade deadline.
The Pelicans know they must wait until the offseason for Boston to offer the 20-year-old wing (since Kyrie Irving and Davis are both on designated-player contracts and each NBA team can only have one such player on their roster). And according to Chris Mannix, New Orleans’ front office believes that Tatum can be a long-term solution for the Pelicans without Davis (via Sports Illustrated)
“[The Celtics] know the Pelicans are enamored with Tatum, whose potential to develop into a franchise forward dwarfs that of any player the Lakers have to offer.”
Since the beginning of his rookie season, Tatum has averaged 18.3 points per 36 minutes during the time he has appeared without high-usage players Irving and Gordon Hayward on the court.
At just 20 years old, the former Duke star is still adding to his game and was a key figure for the Celtics during last year’s postseason run. He even had a 28-point performance against the Philadelphia 76ers.
While one would imagine he would prefer to remain in Boston for a better chance at returning the postseason, perhaps the young Celtics stud would not mind a change of scenery.
Tim MacMahon spoke to Brian Windhorst about how Tatum feels about possible trade rumors (via ESPN):
“I was talking to about the Celtics the other day and they said the worst thing that happened to the Celtics was their success last season. Because now you’ve got Tatum, [Jaylen] Brown, [Terry] Rozier — these young guys are thinking dude, we went to Game 7 of the East Finals without you, Kyrie, without you, Hayward. We’re this level of player … This summer, they could be gone. They might up end in New Orleans [for Davis]. It’s gossip, but the gossip is Jayson Tatum wouldn’t mind if he’s shipped to New Orleans and has a chance to be the face of the franchise somewhere. Because he’s not going to get that opportunity in Boston, at least not in the immediate future.”
His colleague Jackie MacMullan argued that Tatum could become the face of the franchise of the Celtics if there is no trade that is completed for Davis andIrvingsigns elsewhere this offseason.
But it’s an interesting point considering the reluctance that Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball has reportedly shown in a trade to the Pelicans.
If the front office in New Orleans is able to land a top pick in the upcoming draft and pull off a trade to land Tatum from Boston, it suddenly becomes at least possible that their rebuild is not as long as one would have expected.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently reported that Jrue Holiday would be willing to stay with the organization depending on the inevitable return for Davis. He is one of the better two-way guards in the NBA.
His presence with Tatum (and whatever other assets the Pelicans land) could be enough to at least fight for a spot in the postseason, should luck and fortune favor New Orleans.