BOSTON (CBS) — Even though he hasn’t played a game for the Boston Celtics yet, Jayson Tatum is getting a real good feel for life in the NBA.
The Celtics already pulled off one major deal involving Tatum, with Danny Ainge trading the top overall pick in June’s draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for the third overall pick and another future selection. They used that third pick to draft Tatum out of Duke, adding a promising offensive player to a team that won 53 games and went to the Eastern Conference finals last season.
It looked as though the Celtics were set for the 2017-18 season. But as Tatum learned on Tuesday, it’s never safe to assume that Trader Danny is done dealing.
The rookie was enjoying his Tuesday evening when he saw a breaking news alert hit the bottom of his television screen. The Celtics had just pulled off a blockbuster swap with the Cleveland Cavaliers for all-star guard Kyrie Irving, and the 19-year-old wasn’t sure if he should be thinking green or packing his bags for Cleveland.
“I was just as surprised as everyone else. I saw my name [previously] so I didn’t know if I was going to get traded,” Tatum told reporters at a Home Court Makeover event in Northbridge. “It was just as much a shock to me as the average fan.”
It was just last week that reports surfaced that the Cavaliers were eyeing Tatum and other young talent in any potential swap for Irving. Instead, the Celtics shipped guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and the 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick to Cleveland in return for Irving.
So Tatum remains a Celtic, and is excited to have another former Blue Devil with him in Boston. The two share an agent and are “really close,” having recently spent time together in the Bahamas. The thought that they could be teammates never really crossed their minds while on that vacation just a few weeks later, but here they are. Irving texted Tatum on Wednesday morning to say how excited he is to be coming to Boston, and the feeling is mutual.
“I’m pretty sure it will be a lot of fun. He’s a tremendous player, a superstar in this league,” said Tatum. “There is a lot that I can learn from him.”