The Boston Celtics may be in danger of falling back into a play-in scenario if they struggle to close the season, but things have never been better on an individual level for Jayson Tatum. Since April 9, the All-Star forward has put up 31.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per contest.
Along the way, he has also connected on 44.6% of his nearly eight three-point attempts per game.
He was already having a career year. However, more people than ever are taking notice of his efforts now with the recent uptick in output.
Tatum has been so good, in fact, that he has put himself firmly in the conversation for an All-NBA selection at year’s end. And while he already netted his first nod last season, a selection in 2020-21 would be all the more impressive given his individual brilliance amid a rollercoaster campaign in Beantown.
An All-NBA selection would bring far more than bragging rights or a feather in the cap for Tatum, though.
It would literally net him tens of millions of dollars beyond his baseline earnings.
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All-NBA Nod Would Mean an Additional $30-Plus Million
In November, Tatum signed a five-year maximum extension to remain with the Celtics well beyond his rookie deal. However, the deal was anything but standard fare for a contract extension.
The league’s designated rookie extension guidelines allow clubs to exceed the standard 25% of cap max with award-based escalators reaching 30 percent. These incentives are typically tiered depending on which All-NBA team a player makes in the year before the extension kicks in.
As noted by The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, though, Tatum’s agent was able to secure an “unprecedented escalator,” which would bump the Celtics’ leading scorer up to the full 30% if he makes an All-NBA squad, regardless of which one it is.
Based on current projections, a 25% max (with no All-NBA this year) would look something like this for Tatum with annual raises:
However, if Tatum is named to an All-NBA team this summer, his 30% max would shake out closer to what is shown in the following table:
That’s a difference of more than $32 million over the life of the deal.
Newly Announced All-NBA Eligibility Could Affect Tatum’s Chances
Although Tatum can score big financially by picking up All-NBA honors, actually earning a spot on one of the teams could be tough sledding. Even as he is coming off a third-team selection in 2019-20 with a noticeable bump in production this season.
This is due to what could be construed as some loose eligibility requirements based on position, as reported by Sports Illustrated’s Howard Beck.
For example, Joel Embiid — an MVP candidate playing center — is eligible to be voted in as a forward. So, too, is Nikola Jokic, another MVP candidate manning the middle. Meanwhile, guards like Ben Simmons, Devin Booker and Zach LaVine are also reportedly among the myriad of players with eligibility as forwards.
Tatum already faced stiff competition for a forward spot in LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Zion Williamson, Julius Randle, Anthony Davis (another F/C option) and others. Expanding the frontcourt field could make it even more difficult for him to trigger the escalator.