In the NBA, building your roster in such a way as to keep your star players engaged is the name of the game. To that end, Boston Celtics president Brad Stevens had his work cut out for him with Jayson Tatum this summer due to the team’s cap situation entering the offseason.
Despite the team’s massive payroll and quirky construction, though, Stevens looks to have fared well in his efforts to upgrade the squad. And he may have saved his best move for last, adding high-scoring combo guard Dennis Schroder at a bargain-basement price.
TMZ just caught up with Tatum in Beverly Hills, asking him for his thoughts on the Schroder acquisition. Although Boston’s key cog generally keeps his cards close to his vest, the superstar scorer and Olympic gold medalist seemingly gave his stamp of approval for the move.
“I’m excited — looking forward to having him.” Tatum said of the addition.
Tatum on Whether Schroder Will Ever Get the Big Bucks
Tatum was similarly reserved when asked about Schroder’s contract situation and the possibility that he could land a big deal next offseason after whiffing this summer. As the two-time All-Star sees it, things should work themselves out as long as Schroder brings it on the court.
“Hopefully he’s looking to have a great year,” he said. “If you win, you know, the rest of the stuff takes care of itself.”
In March, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Schroder had turned down a four-year, $84 million extension offer from the LA Lakers. Longtime hoops scribe Marc Stein later indicated that the 27-year-old believes himself to be a $100 million player.
Schroder ultimately landed on the Celtics for one year on the taxpayer midlevel exception of $5.9 million.
Whether Schroder, Marcus Smart or someone else ends up being the Celtics’ starting point guard remains to be seen. However, the former should be able to make an impact regardless of whether he’s with the first five or coming off the bench.
Schroder has averaged 15-plus points per game for five years running. During his two years with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he put up 17.0 PPG while largely playing as a reserve.
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Tatum on LiAngelo Ball as an NBA Player
TMZ also asked Tatum for his thoughts on one of the Ball brothers. Namely, LiAngelo Ball, who is once again attempting to join Lonzo and LaMelo in the NBA by auditioning with the Charlotte Hornets summer league squad.
As Tatum sees it, Ball should absolutely be playing in the league.
“I think so,” Tatum said when asked if Ball could make it in the Association. “It’s only right, he’s put in the work. I’m sure he’ll find his way on a team.”
In five summer league games, Ball averaged 9.6 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. ESPN’s Jordan Schultz reported that he had generated significant buzz with his play and that he had made believers out of several people within the Hornets organization.