Stephen A. Smith Makes Bold Claim Regarding Celtics’ Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.

Unfortunately for Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, a chance to team up with his best friend, Bradley Beal, was dashed when Beal was traded to the Phoenix Suns on June 18, according to multiple reports.

A trade to Boston could’ve been unlikely anyway because Beal was willing to waive the no-trade clause in contract for only three teams: the Suns, the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks. To ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, that’s a problem because, he said, just a handful of NBA stars should be given no-trade clauses in their contracts.

“I’ve only got five people for you, five,” Smith said on the June 19 episode of “The Stephen A. Smith” show. “At number five is Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics. Now, this brother doesn’t have a championship. But he’s been to about four or five conference finals. He’s been to an NBA Finals. He’s just finished being the first Celtics to average 30 in a season. He’s 6-foot-9, can ball from inside or outside, in the open court, etc. And he’s 25. He’s only 25 years old. If that brother walked into my office, and I’m the owner of the Boston Celtics, and he wants a no-trade clause, he’s getting a no-trade clause.”

Smith placed Tatum on exclusive list with Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and, at No. 1, Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Tatum has been named to an All-NBA First Team for the past two seasons and has flashed enough upside to believe he could potentially contend for an MVP award in the coming years.

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA, with only 10 players in league history — including Beal — having one in their contracts. The other nine include seven Hall of Famers and two future Hall of Famers.

On June 18, The Athletic’s Tony Jones tweeted: “I’m willing to bet good money that we’ve seen the last no trade clause in NBA history.”

Celtics to Keep Jayson Tatum & Jaylen Brown

According to a June 19 report by the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, the Celtics have no intention of splitting up the star duo of Tatum and Jaylen Brown and are expected to extend Brown on a supermax contract offer over the summer.

“Jaylen Brown remains an essential part of that picture,” Himmelsbach reported. “The source said the Celtics do not intend to trade the All-Star forward and that all signs continue to point toward Brown signing a five-year, $295 million super-max extension this summer.”

The wing tandem of Brown and Tatum has long been a topic of conversation for Celtics fans and media, with some believing that the duo’s skillsets are too similar for them to succeed on the same team. However, following yet another Eastern Conference finals run, it would appear the Celtics are willing to double down on their star duo and trust that they can bring a sustained period of success to Boston.

Celtics Hire Phil Pressey as Assistant Coach

This past season, Joe Mazzulla had a reduced coaching staff. Will Hardy left to become the head coach of the Utah Jazz, Ime Udoka was suspended and ultimately fired, and Damon Stoudamire left before the season ended to take up a role as the head coach of Georgia Tech.

However, since the Celtics were eliminated from the postseason, Brad Stevens has moved quickly to improve Boston’s coaching situation, hiring Sam Cassell and Charles Lee in recent weeks. On June 19, it was reported that Stevens was adding another assistant coach to Mazzulla’s staff, with former Celtics point guard Phil Pressey joining the team.

“Former Celtics guard Phil Pressey is joining coach Joe Mazzulla’s staff, according to a league source,” Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported. “Last season Pressey worked as an assistant at Missouri, his alma mater. Pressey’s father, Paul, played in the NBA for 11 seasons before serving as an assistant coach for 25, including a stint with the Celtics from 2004-06.”

With yet another assistant coach that boasts NBA playing experience, Boston’s coaching staff is now deep enough and experienced enough to rival any team in the league. Now, the hope will be that the additional voices in Joe Mazzulla’s ear can help lead the team to the 2024 NBA Finals and, hopefully, to a championship.