Celtics, Pelicans Have Extensively Discussed Tatum

While the Celtics aren’t permitted to actually complete a trade this week for Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis while Kyrie Irving remains on their roster, there’s nothing stopping the two teams from talking — and it sounds like there has been plenty of talk.

A source with knowledge of those talks tells Sam Amick of The Athletic that Boston and New Orleans have discussed C’s forward Jayson Tatum “extensively,” adding that Tatum is expected to be a major part of negotiations if the two sides reconnect in the summer.

While the Celtics and Pelicans have apparently had a number of discussions about Tatum, it’s worth noting that Amick stops short of saying Boston has promised to include the former No. 3 overall pick in an offer for Davis in the offseason. As ESPN’s Zach Lowe observes in an in-depth breakdown of the Davis situation, the C’s have vowed to be aggressive in their pursuit of AD if he’s still a Pelican in the summer, but there are no indications that they’ve explicitly agreed to include Tatum in their package.

It’s a somewhat unprecedented situation, Lowe writes, since there are few scenarios in NBA history where a CBA quirk has required a potential trade partner to wait several months to actually complete a deal for a star player. If the Celtics tell the Pelicans now that they’d include Tatum, it’s possible circumstances could change by June — perhaps Davis suffers a major injury or Irving decides to leave Boston, and the C’s rethink their willingness to move Tatum.

The uncertainty surrounding Tatum is just one of many factors that complicate the Pelicans’ decision-making process, but his upside arguably exceeds that of any of the players the Lakers have offered New Orleans, Lowe writes. If the Pelicans wait until the offseason to make a Davis deal, Tatum could be on the table, and New Orleans will also have a clearer sense of the Knicks’ draft position, which looms as a major wild card as well. As such, it might make sense for the Pels to remain patient.

Here’s more on the Davis trade saga:

  • According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, league sources expect negotiations between the Pelicans and Lakers to resume before Thursday’s deadline, since L.A. is running out of time and may not have many more avenues to acquiring a star to pair with LeBron James.
  • O’Connor also hears from a league source that the wishes of Lonzo Ball and his camp will have no bearing on how the Lakers and Pelicans approach trade negotiations.
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider link) makes the case that it wouldn’t be in the Lakers‘ best interests to give up all their best non-LeBron assets for Davis.
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores the Lakers‘ fallback options if they don’t trade for Davis this week.
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28 thoughts on “Celtics, Pelicans Have Extensively Discussed Tatum

  1. acarneglia

    Could they agree to a trade and just not play anyone involved after the trade is completed? I know this wouldn’t make sense for Boston, but I’m just asking if this is a possibility.

    • Codeeg

      Probably not. Celtics have the playoffs this year to play and it’d be shameful to the game to give a worse team.

    • No the league would stop the deal unless Kyrie was included in an AD deal (if its done before this offseason). The other 29 teams would be rioting if the league somehow allowed the Celtics to trade for AD while violating the CBA rules.

  2. driftcat28

    Ugh I hope Boston doesn’t include Tatum. Kids a stud and a star in the making. Pairing him with AD and Kyrie could make them and incredible team once Tatum is more seasoned. Really hoping a trade is centered around Brown, Rozier, + others, and all of the picks

    • victorg

      Horford,Brown,Rozier,Smart and 2 of the better first round picks they have and 2 unprotected second round picks sounds like a damn good offer … the pels could flip horford for another first I assume.

      • Is that a better deal than the Lakers deal though? Considering Smart’s contract and a pending contract for Rozier (and Horford’s deal). the Pelicans won’t see much in cap savings in that deal. In terms of actual value, Smart is a solid player but he’s not the type of player you can build a team around. And Rozier’s value is vastly overrated. He’s another solid player but he’s not the potential star that some people seem to think he is. I mean the guy has never shot 40% from the field through 3.5 seasons. At best, Rozier can become a Patrick Beverley type of player but that’s not a high enough ceiling to be the type of high ceiling player some fans seem to suggest he will be like.

        In comparison to the Lakers offer, Brown is basically a wash with Ingram so you’re comparing Ball, Kuzma, Hart, Zubac, and two first rounders to Horford, Rozier, Smart, and four picks. Boston’s ability to offer four picks (and potentially a fifth through Horford) helps them, but the Lakers are offering more cost controlled young players with cap savings.

        • jkoms57

          Let alone Ingram > brown.

          Brown simply plays in a better system rn, but Ingram is twice as good, just on dysfunctional Lakers

          Put Ingram on the Celtics and he’s prob just as good as Tatum

        • 123Redsox

          It would have to be a sign and trade with rozier in the off season. So rozier would be saying he wants to be a pelican long term. .., personally, I think the only way a deal involving Tatum gets done is if Kyrie and Davis commit long term… By the way, Horford would be the salary matcher in the deal. And wouldn’t it be an expiring contract for Horford? I could be wrong about that.

          • AD and Horford have similar contracts so there’s no cap savings there. New Orleans has been pretty insistent on whichever team that acquires AD to take additional salary back. If the Pelicans are forced to sign Rozier to a contract and take on Marcus Smart (still due roughly $38m over three more years), there’s minimal cap savings there as Rozier would likely ask for something in the $8m+ AAV range. My main point, however, was the overall value of the deal. Smart and Rozier are solid players, but neither are exactly guys you build a team around. Smart is a rotational high-energy/good defense guard. Rozier, who I have always felt was way overrated in regards to his trade value, likely has the ceiling of Patrick Beverley. Add on that both are no longer on their rookie deals and their value is capped.

            I agree that Boston should only offer Tatum if AD commits to stay long term but I just don’t see the Boston offer being that much better, if its even better at all, than the Lakers’ current offer unless Tatum is attached. Boston can offer a bevy of picks, but the picks this year aren’t as valuable as they once were. Sacramento’s pick could be near the back of the lottery and both Memphis and Clippers picks might not change hands. To boot, this draft isn’t considered as deep as say the previous two drafts were. As of right now there is a clear top 2 consensus in Zion and RJ Barrett with Ja Morant looking like a top 5 pick as well…and thats about it.

      • Rojeff9

        Rozier will be gone to free agency once the season ends. Not trade-able .

    • chiefivey

      i feel like that would hold tatum back. He needs room to grow like harden when he left OKC. I think him going to NOLA is a win win for both sides.

  3. Thronson5

    Seems like something like this (what Boston is doing) shouldn’t be allowed since they aren’t allowed to trade for him until Kyrie gets a new deal.

  4. todd-3

    If AD isn’t interested in resigning in Boston why would Boston include a top tier young talent.. bad move

    Celtics should move rozier for vucevic, both free agents and work on resigning him.

    Then go after Beal.


    Or move Tatum to the SF and go after a guy like Tobias Harris.

    Find a team to take horford and a protected first to dump his 30m salary next season. Horford age caught up to him fast and he’s not a starter any more…

  5. Dicka24

    If they include Tatum, and keep Brown, I think the Celtics would be ecstatic. I like Tatum a lot, but he will never, ever be as good as Anthony Davis. The risk is in AD walking. I personally don’t think the C’s will trade for AD unless Kyrie resigns. It would be foolish to do so, unless AD agreed to an extension, which I doubt happens if Kyrie bolts. So a lot of yet to be answered questions before any deal will happen.

    If I’m the Pelicans, I want Tatum over any one player the Lakers can offer. I also want that Memphis pick over any pick the Lakers can offer. If the C’s are willing to include Tatum, then the Pelicans need to wait till the summer. They have to make a trade that best helps their franchises future, and waiting makes the most sense with respect to that. Sit AD, tank now, and see where everyone’s picks are in June before you drop the hammer.

  6. Nebraska Tim

    AD is a generationally good player. I think he might be the best player in the league.

    I understand that being a pro means being traded and treated like a commodity, but Tatum can’t feel great about his place and role on this Celtics team. This kind of stuff getting out into the open/public cannot be good for team morale.

    • 123Redsox

      The Celtics never promised they would include Tatum. This article is essentially saying the pelicans and celtics have spoken about a deal and the pelicans keep bringing up Tatum’s name. As of now, there is no reason for Tatum not to be happy with his “place and role” with the Celtics.

    • 123Redsox

      Want to talk about bad for morale? How about LeBron being out and losing constantly. And then an offer goes public including every young asset the lakers have. If someone’s morale is going under, it is the lakers

  7. Sheep8

    Not a follower of the NBA, so please forgive the question. What is in the CBA that will not allow Boston to make a deal by the deadline?

    The NBA CBA is like the tax code! Need specialists to know the ins and outs!

    • Luke Adams

      Teams aren’t allowed to trade for two players who signed “designated rookie extensions” (five-year extensions signed after the third year of their rookie contracts).

      Kyrie and AD both fit that bill, and the C’s already traded for Kyrie, obviously, so that restriction doesn’t lift until Kyrie’s current contract expires (this July 1).

  8. ishkabibble

    Ainge is all about misdirection. I wouldn’t put a ton of credence into any of these stories.

  9. I think the Pelicans are overplaying their hand by expecting the Lakers to offer some monstrous offer for AD. When the Celtics can start negotiating a deal, I don’t see Ainge offering that much (i.e. Tatum) without some assurance that AD would resign. Once the Celtics offer eventually leaks, the Lakers would likely lower their offer (as in not offering 5 players and two first rounders). New Orleans can and should still get a decent haul, but I don’t see the Lakers offering the same package in the offseason and the Celtics won’t offer Tatum without AD resigning.

  10. Ptn18

    Luke, If Boston offers all 4 draft picks, (why I think the Pelicans are asking for 4 picks) and the draft is before a trade is actually made, would Boston select for New orleans? How would that work?

    • Luke Adams

      If they reach an agreement in June (around the time of the draft), Boston could make the picks knowing which players the Pelicans want, then trade the rights to those players in July.

      This is a pretty common way to get around restrictions that lift once the new league year begins on July 1 (usually related to cap figures, traded-cash limits, etc.). Last year, for instance, the Nets technically drafted Hamidou Diallo for the Thunder, even though there were TWO trades required to get him to OKC that couldn’t be made until July (Nets/Hornets, then Hornets/OKC).

      • Ptn18

        I believe Kyrie will re sign, and I believe Danny Ainge when he says after a year of playing with Kyrie, Davis will re sign. Don’t know if math works. My guess is Horford, Tatum, 4 1st picks and either Brown or Rozier (sign and trade) for Davis and Hill. They’d then waive Hill. Irving, Davis, and Hayward would kill their salary cap.

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