Boston Celtics

Feb 9, 2020; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) during the second half at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Boston won 112-111. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

98.5 The Sports Hub staff report

The Boston Celtics may be ready to truly invest in budding superstar scorer Jayson Tatum as the face of the franchise.

Currently in his third NBA season and eligible for an extension this offseason, the 22-year-old Tatum is likely to receive a max contract offer from the Celtics, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

“If Jayson Tatum is the superstar that they envisioned when they began this whole rebuilding process when they traded Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce for all of those draft picks hoping to land a player like this, we could see ‘Glory Days’ for the Celtics again,” Windhorst said on Saturday. “But it’s very much up in the air, and I’m gonna tell you, they’re gonna have to pay him like it because after this season ends, he is going to get most likely a max contract. They’re going to bet that he becomes that player.”

You’d have to like the odds of Tatum choosing to sign that deal, too, as Boston has emerged as a legitimate team to watch in the Eastern Conference in the now, and will be for the foreseeable future with the Tatum-Jaylen Brown combo intact. Tatum also didn’t hide from his appreciation for playing the Celtics (something he initially had no interest in) during his appearance on Showtime’s All The Smoke podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.

“I’ve really enjoyed being in Boston so far,” Tatum, drafted by the Celtics with the No. 3 overall pick in 2017, said. “Playing in the Garden is like no other place. The fans are amazing.

“Just looking up at the 17 championships that we have and all the great players that came before me. It’s crazy.”

Given the keys to the Celtic offense, even with max-contract addition Kemba Walker in the picture after Kyrie Irving’s departure, Tatum has taken flight in 2019-20, with a career-best 23.6 points per game. The St. Louis native had also established career-high marks in assists (2.9), rebounds (7.1), steals (1.4), and minutes (34:38) per game prior to the season’s pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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