Jayson Tatum's Olympic experience will include a quest to bring home the gold, as well as some star recruiting
One silver lining of the undermanned Hospital Celtics first round exit in this year's playoffs is that their superstar Jayson Tatum doesn't have to choose between representing his country in the Tokyo Olympics or getting some rest this offseason. He can do both. According to Chris Haynes, Tatum has committed to playing for Team USA this summer.
NBA players don't refrain from playing basketball all summer, so if Tatum wasn't playing for Team USA, he'd be playing basketball somewhere else. For this reason, the desire to have your star sit out the Olympics so he doesn't get hurt or burned out is unnecessary. Now if Tatum was in his 30's, and the Celtics made it all the way to the NBA Finals, then there would be more cause for concern, but neither is the case.
And if you're going to be playing basketball anyway, might as well do it on the Olympic stage. In 2021, I doubt you have to worry about Team USA playing a guy who's injured. The pluses of playing in the Olympics far out weigh the unfounded negatives. For one, Tatum gets a chance to represent his country and we as fans get to watch him. Tatum also gets to practice against and play meaningful games with the some of the best players in the world as teammates.
The Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh wasn't created during the summer of 2010 when they were free agents. No, the idea came from their experience playing together on the gold winning 2008 Olympic team. As we mentioned prior, who you hire to be your NBA coach matters little to star free agents. They pick teams based on location, a chance to win, and more often than not of late if they have a relationship with a fellow star on the team.
Sources: Among the invitations USA Basketball has made for inclusion on the 12-man Olympic roster, there’s optimism that Coach Gregg Popovich will get commitments from Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum.
So far the Olympic team has commitments from Tatum, Draymond Green, Damian Lillard, and are optimistic about getting one from Jayson's buddy Bradley Beal. If you are hoping Boston can add a 3rd star via free agency or a trade, the names you just read should make you more optimistic. There are three routes for Beal to come to Boston. The first one I'd be against. That would be trading the Wizards 24 year old All-Star Jaylen Brown for him. Beal is about to turn 28. We've been down that road with Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker recently. You don't want to add a star betting on him to be the player he was in his mid 20's, but you're getting the version of him on the wrong side of his 30's.
The second option to adding Beal makes much more sense. Boston has enough assets and young players with skills to clear their cap to sign Beal to join Tatum and Brown in Boston next summer. Once the Wizards realize they would just lose Beal for nothing, Boston could then give them something minor to make to turn the signing into a sign-and-trade.
And the third option is if the Wizards fear Beal will walk next summer, Boston could acquire him in a discounted trade. The reason I say discounted, is because again the Wizards would be operating from a position of weakness. If they don't trade Beal, he walks. And they can't trade him to any of the 29 remaining teams, because Beal would let it be known he'd only re-sign with a team on his list. The list could be 3 teams long, it could be 4 teams long, but the important thing would be that the only team that realistically had the assets and strong desire to trade for Beal would be Boston.
In the case of Lillard, again you don't want to part with Jaylen for a player who will be making close to $50 million per year on his new contract in his mid 30's. My guess is Lillard gives it another go this coming season with a new coach in Portland. But down the road when he starts eyeing a new home, relationships with fellow stars matter. Tatum being Lillard's teammate for several weeks this summer should help.
And there are still at least another 8 players to be added to Team USA. Maybe one of them is Zion Williamson. Maybe a young point guard like De'Arron Fox, Ja Morant, or Tyrese Haliburton. Could be Donovan Mitchell. The key is this very well could be the place where the future Big 3 of the Celtics is formed. Tatum, Beal, and Fox? Tatum, Lillard, and Brown? Tatum, Zion, and Haliburton? You get the point.
The Celtics have a new head of basketball operations and will soon have a new head coach. But to key to their future lies with #0 Jayson Tatum. Practicing and playing against the best players in the world will make him a better player. But his ability to recruit will also have a major impact on whether Tatum has a string of many superstar seasons in Boston or many superstar championship seasons in Boston.