Felger & Mazz

Felger & Mazz

Felger & Mazz

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 29: Jayson Tatum #0 talks with head coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics during the third quarter against the Miami Heat in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 29, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Yes, that is the dumbest headline I’ve ever written or will ever write.

BUT if the Celtics have a soft culture, then trading Jayson Tatum needs to be discussed.

Let’s work with the idea that an NBA team follows the lead of it’s best player, for example, the 2008 Boston Celtics we’re lead by the intensity and defensive drive of Kevin Garnett. If we work with that logic, and the Celtics culture is soft, because of Jayson Tatum, then the Celtics need to deal Jayson Tatum THIS offseason.

Yup, I typed those words. I feel gross about it.

Do I want to trade Jayson Tatum? No! BUT if we or more importantly the Celtics think he’s Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant and not a player who can be the alpha to lead the Celtics to an NBA Championship then deal him now.

On June 1st, 2024, I don’t want to be doing the same Felger and Mazz show about the Celtics failing in the Eastern Conference Finals as I did on June 1st, 2023.

I also think you’ll enjoy scrolling the hate tweets I got for promoting a trade Jayson Tatum story on twitter.

So, for the sake of clicks, let’s look at what I believe are realistic Jayson Tatum trade options.

  • Luka Dončić

    MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - DECEMBER 12: Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks celebrates during a game between Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons at Arena Ciudad de Mexico on December 12, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

    A modern day Magic Johnson. By the time he’s done, he may have a better resume than former Mavericks teammate Nowitzki.

  • Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks made the All NBA Team in 2023 with the second most total voting points among guards in the NBA. Luka is an elite level offensive player, a daily triple double machine for those who care about those stats, he’s won championships at every level except the NBA, he too couldn’t make it work with Kyrie Irving and Luka lacks defensive effort and skill. Luka should be able to make Jaylen Brown and others around him better because he is a better passer than Tatum is. If the Celtics did get Luka, they’d have to turn their offense into something similar to what James Harden did in Houston with the Rockets. That’s not ideal for an entertaining game of basketball. Maybe Luka wants to win more than Tatum does but let’s think about this, do you really want to trade Tatum for Luka? There was a time that I did prefer Luka Dončić to Jayson Tatum, I would love to see Luka and Tatum together but now, if Jayson Tatum is soft and the Celtics need a culture shock, let’s trade Tatum for Luka. 

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks over...

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder dunks over during the Toronto Raptors vs Oklahoma City Thunder NBA regular season game at Scotiabank Arena on December 29 in Toronto, Canada Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder received the most votes amongst guards in the 2023 All NBA team voting. Gilgeous-Alexander is a 6’6″ point guard with a 6’11” wingspan, he’s considered the heart and soul of OKC. The former number 11 pick in the 2018 draft signed a five year, $173 million dollar extension in 2021, the biggest benefit of dealing Tatum for SGA would be cost control for one extra season. SGA is under contract for the next 4 seasons while Tatum is under contract for the next 3 seasons, the 4th season would be a player option, which, likely, would be year one of the $318 million dollar super max contract. SGA does make his teammates better with his passing game and he does turn the ball over slightly less than Tatum does. And maybe he wants to win more than Tatum does. Understand that SGA has only played in two post season series, both losses and has multiple single digit scoring games. Not ideal. But sure, let’s trade Tatum for SGA. 

  • Damian Lillard

    Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles during the second half against the LA Clippers in an NBA basketball game at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 8, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, 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. (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)

  • The future hall of famer Damian Lillard was voted to the 2023 Third All NBA Team, he’s known as an alpha in Portland but hasn’t made it to an NBA Final in his career. The belief is Lillard is tougher than Tatum and wants to win more than Tatum, even if Lillard continues to stay in Portland. MY belief is he would consider the Knicks and Celtics if he was interested in leaving Portland but I don’t believe that’s gone beyond a causal conversation. Tatum, 25 for the soon to be 33 year old point guard, who in the final year of his contract, at age 36, will be making more than $63 million dollars. I’m not interested in that deal but for the sake of this story, sure let’s trade Tatum for Lillard. Done!

  • Anthony Davis

    Dec 7, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) and guard Russell Westbrook (0) confront Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka in the second half at Staples Center.The Lakers defeated the Celtics 117-102. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

  • Anthony Davis for Jayson Tatum, many of us said yes to this deal when Davis was a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. Is Anthony Davis tougher than Jayson Tatum, we’d all say no right? So now, do we change our mind since Anthony Davis won a championship with LeBron James and the Lakers in the NBA bubble? But sure, let’s trade Tatum for Anthony Davis.

  • Ime Udoka

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 03: Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka talks with Jayson Tatum #0 during the first quarter of Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at TD Garden on May 03, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • Let’s look at reuniting Jayson Tatum with his old Head Coach Ime Udoka in Houston. The Rockets have enough cap space to sign two max contract this offseason, so Houston could deal the Celtics the balance of 5 first round draft picks / pick swaps and their two young players Jabari Smith Jr. and Jalen Green. Is that enough of a return for Jayson Tatum? Having Smith Jr., Green, Jaylen Brown, Rob Williams and Marcus Smart would make the Boston Celtics a really fun team in NBA2k the video game but on the floor, it’s a massive step back from the 57 win, Eastern Conference Finals Boston Celtics. The Celtics in this scenario become Jaylen Brown’s team, does Jaylen have that next gear of leadership that Tatum doesn’t? Do we want to trade Tatum, keep Brown and find out? Why not trade Tatum for picks and kids, maybe those draft picks won’t be as soft as Tatum. So, sure, let’s trade Tatum for young, protentional NBA stars.

  • As you can tell, the idea of trading Jayson Tatum is a bit silly unless the Celtics are not going to pay him a Super Max Contract or if the Celtics don’t think they can win a championship with Jayson Tatum as their franchise player or the Celtics are planning a sale of the franchise and would need a reset, all of these should be conversations in ownership management meetings.

    I’ve heard that there might be a “re-evaluation” by some in control within the Celtics ownership group. I don’t have anymore depth than that but it was a passing comment to me in the last 48 hours.

    Hearing that, I would speculate that Celtics ownership, who are business people first, wouldn’t love the idea of paying Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown more than $600 million dollars over the course of their Super Max contracts. I do believe in this idea that the Celtics have a two year window if they want to run it back with Tatum and Brown as the leaders of the Boston Celtics. Sign Jaylen Brown to his Super Max contract of 5 years and $295 million dollars on July 2nd, get that done and out of the way. That new contract doesn’t kick in until the 2024-2025 season. In the 2024-2025 off season, sign Jayson Tatum to his Super Max contract which is 35% of the NBA salary cap, coming in at around 5 years and $318 million dollars on July 2nd, 2024. The Celtics then don’t have to worry about Tatum and Brown taking up 70% of their salary cap until the 2025-2026 season. At that time the Celtics can take a look at the landscape of Tatum, Brown and the rest of the NBA to see if having two players with Super Max money is the way they want to go.

  • Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics look on during overtime against the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics look on during overtime against the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • What do I think the Celtics will do this off season?

    I think they’ll run it back for the 2023-2024 season with a top 6 of Tatum, Brown, Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Rob Williams and Derrick White. I think those 6 are the core and foundation of what Brad Stevens mentioned in his season ending press conference.

    I think Malcolm Brogdon, Grant Williams and Danilo Gallinari will be with new teams next season. Who replaces those three is a story for another day.

  • This “story” was an exercise for myself in realizing that if the Celtics trade Jayson Tatum, and I don’t want them to, I’m not going to love any of the options on the real life basketball court. I didn’t even get to 10 trades, next time I’ll hit the trade finder button on NBA2K and see if I like any of those options.

    I likely won’t.

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