Report: Celtics' asking price for Jayson Tatum was 'insane'

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Photo credit Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a reputation that he’s willing to trade just about anybody, Danny Ainge has always been reluctant to part ways with Jayson Tatum, and according to one NBA executive, the team’s valuation of their budding star was “insane.”

SB Nation’s Keith P. Smith quoted an opposing executive as saying, “We tried to get him. The price they asked was insane, as it should be. He’s going to be an All-Star. If his numbers were down, it’s only because no 19-year-old had been at that level before. Kemba (Walker) is a great addition and (Gordon) Hayward is going to be better, but Tatum is the franchise in Boston.”

Ainge was notoriously unwilling to include Tatum in any potential trade package for Anthony Davis — though later reports conflict — when the superstar big man was available, as the team sees him as a future franchise cornerstone.

After a very strong rookie campaign Tatum regressed a bit in year two, with slightly higher scoring, rebounding and assist numbers but with higher usage and decreased efficiency.

Smith quoted a Celtics executive as framing the expectations for year three as simply, “To keep getting better. People say he took a step back, but he was in the toughest spot of everyone last year. He didn’t get the touches he got as a rookie. And his bar was ridiculously high. There are very few guys we would even talk about trading Jayson for. That should tell you how high we are on him.”

Tatum will be attending Team USA training camp in August along with teammates Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown.