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Report: Celtics signing Jayson Tatum to max contract extension

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum

ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket during the game against the Miami Heat during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs on September 26, 2020 at The AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Celtics identified Jayson Tatum as the top prospect in the 2017 draft, traded down from the No. 1 pick then drafted Tatum No. 3. Tatum said he jokes with Celtics president Danny Ainge: “You owe me some money.”

Tatum won’t recoup the $7,326,697 difference in rookie-scale base salary between the No. 1 and No. 3 picks.

But his contract extension ought to sooth any bitterness.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

If Tatum – who made the All-NBA third team last season – makes an All-NBA team next season, he’ll qualify for the super-max. That projects to be worth $196 million. Which All-NBA team Tatum must make (first, second or third) was negotiated between him and the Celtics (with room to pay him more or less depending on which All-NBA team).

If Tatum falls short of an All-NBA team (or winning Defensive Player of the Year), his extension projects to be worth $163 million.

Either way, the exact value of the extension won’t be determined until the salary cap is set next year.

Tatum, just 22, is worth paying whatever is necessary to keep him (though the player option stings).

Boston’s pre-draft evaluation proved spot on. Tatum quickly proved his 3-point shooting ability and, through some ups and downs, developed a well-rounded offensive repertoire. He also plays highly effective defense, one of the NBA’s best defenders at the nail.

With a shortage of quality wings around the league, the Celtics have a huge leg up building around Tatum and Jaylen Brown. With Brown signing his rookie-scale extension last year, that advantage will be preserved quite a while.