CJ McCollum can't help but laugh at Jayson Tatum contract extension report

CJ McCollum can't help but laugh at Jayson Tatum contract extension report

Should the Boston Celtics offer Jayson Tatum a maximum contract extension after the 2019-20 season?

CJ McCollum thinks it's ridiculous to even ask that question.

The Portland Trail Blazers guard apparently found humor in a report from ESPN's Brian Windhorst this weekend that the Celtics "most likely" will offer Tatum a maximum extension this coming offseason.

Translation: McCollum believes Tatum deserves his money. McCollum isn't alone among NBA players, either, as Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young also chimed in.

It's hard to argue with McCollum and Young: Tatum was enjoying a breakout third season for Boston before the NBA shut down on March 11, averaging career highs in points (23.6), rebounds (7.1) and assists (2.9) per game while earning his first career All-Star nod.

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Many believe the 22-year-old has superstar potential, with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith even saying Tatum could be the NBA's best player one day.

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Tatum is set to make $9.9 million next season on the final year of his rookie contract. (He has a qualifying offer for the 2021-22 season.) After the C's gave Jaylen Brown a four-year extension last fall, it would make sense for them to lock up their other young rising star.

There is an unknown regarding the NBA salary cap, which could decrease this offseason as a result of lost league revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic and thus decrease the value of a max contract for Tatum.

But if Tatum gets his money, he'll likely be getting a call from Utah Jazz star and fellow Team USA member Donovan Mitchell.

Celtics-Trail Blazers simulation: Kemba, Tatum lead C's to seventh win in a row

Celtics-Trail Blazers simulation: Kemba, Tatum lead C's to seventh win in a row

The NBA season has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait until mid-April at the earliest to watch the Boston Celtics again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Celtics action, we'll be using the NBA 2K20 video game to simulate each game on the schedule until they finally return.

PREVIOUS FIVE SIMULATIONS

The Celtics were supposed to be taking on the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night at TD Garden. Here's how our simulation of the matchup went:

CELTICS STATS

Another simulation, another outstanding performance from Kemba Walker, who tallied 34 points on 14-of-27 shooting. Walker also made his presence felt as a facilitator, dishing out nine assists.

A few of those dimes went to Jayson Tatum. The 22-year-old dropped 29 points while bringing down eight rebounds and adding three steals.

Jaylen Brown contributed 22 points of his own, helping the Celtics string together their seventh consecutive win and yet another 120-plus point outing.

TRAIL BLAZERS STATS

Unsurprisingly, the Blazers were led by the 1-2 punch of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Lillard had a game-high 35 points, and McCollum finished with 23 after scuffling for most of the first half. Other than their scoring outputs, there wasn't much to be excited about for Portland.

TEAM STATS

Check out those turnovers. Portland had 15 on the night while Boston took care of the ball with just three. That was the real difference-maker in the end.

Outside of that, the Celtics and Trail Blazers were about even from the field, but the C's were more efficient from beyond the arc.

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 123, Trail Blazers 103

That's seven W's in a row for the NBA 2K Celtics. We'll see if they can continue the streak when we simulate Sunday's game vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Why Jaylen Brown's reaction to Jayson Tatum's strong play should thrill Celtics fans

Why Jaylen Brown's reaction to Jayson Tatum's strong play should thrill Celtics fans

The Boston Celtics' 2018-19 season got derailed in part because there were too many mouths to feed.

You could argue the same scenario is possible on the 2019-20 Celtics: With Jayson Tatum blossoming into a superstar alongside established All-Stars Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward, a young talent like Jaylen Brown may get overlooked.

But that scenario doesn't seem possible -- because Brown refuses to let it happen.

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Here's the 23-year-old wing after Tatum went off for 36 points in Tuesday's 118-106 win over the Portland Trail Blazers:

"You’ve got to want for your brother what you want for yourself," Brown told reporters. " ... He’s playing unreal. He’s playing the best ball of his career. So let’s keep going. Let’s see how we can keep feeding it to him. If he keeps making shots like that, I don’t see why not, right?"

Brown and Tatum share a close bond as No. 3 overall picks in the 2016 and 2017 NBA Drafts, respectively, both thriving during the 2018 playoffs in the absences of Hayward and Kyrie Irving.

While Brown is enjoying his own career season -- he tallied 24 points Tuesday and is averaging 20.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game -- Tatum has skyrocketed past him as an elite NBA talent who earned his first All-Star nod this season.

Yet Brown bristled at the notion that Tatum's recent success has "motivated" him to elevate his own game.

"I don’t look at it as he motivates me," Brown said, via Mass Live's Tom Westerholm. "I’m supporting him, and I think we’re on the same team so it’s not a contrast one against the other.

"I know a lot of times people try to dichotomize Jaylen. We’re on the same team. As he’s doing well, I’m doing well. If I’m doing well, he’s doing well, because we’re on the same team."

That response should be music to Celtics fans' ears after chemistry issues hastened a second-round playoff exit for last season's talented squad.

This season's Celtics are certainly benefiting from Tatum and Brown's success: Boston is 23-4 when Tatum scores 24 or more points and 15-1 when Brown drops 24 or more.

"He’s one of the biggest reasons we’ve been winning," Tatum acknowledged of Brown after the game.

Tatum and Brown's ability to thrive together is a big reason why the Celtics own the NBA's fourth-best record.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Jazz, which begins Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10:30 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.