Jayson Tatum to Celtics president Danny Ainge, who traded down rather draft him No. 1: ‘You owe me some money’

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Celtics president Danny Ainge said he would’ve drafted Jayson Tatum No. 1 overall last year. Instead, Boston traded the top pick to the 76ers, who used it on Markelle Fultz.

Great for the Celtics, who still got Tatum – arguably, with Donovan Mitchell, the draft’s best player – and netted an extra first-round pick.

Not great for Tatum, who slipped to Boston at No. 3 and will therefore earn $7,326,697 less on his four-year rookie-scale contract than if he’d gone No. 1.

Tatum, as transcribed by Fred Katz of MassLive:

“I joke with Danny all the time, he should’ve just took me No. 1,” Tatum said while guesting on The Bill Simmons Podcast at The Ringer. “I could’ve kept a few dollars of my paycheck. Tell (Ainge), ‘You owe me some money.'”

This is a good time to remember how unfair the draft is for players in it. The entire system was negotiated between owners who want to keep their costs down and veterans already in the league who want to protect their share of money. The best draft prospects are pushed toward the worst-performing teams and then stuck on artificially set low-paying contracts.

And don’t get me started on teams buying second-round picks for millions of dollars then paying the selected player far less. The overall money spent shows the player’s value, but he gets only a small share of it.

But as long as players keep celebrating getting drafted, nothing will change.