Jayson Tatum on Celtics trading for Durant: “I love the guys that we got”

0 Comments

What did you expect him to say?

In June, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and a Celtics’ core that has played together for years made it to the NBA Finals and came within two games of winning it all. In July, the team got stronger with the additions of Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari. Then last week, the Kevin Durant trade rumors started, with Brown in the middle of them.

Tatum was walking the red carpet at the premiere of the Showtime documentary “Point Gods,” and Nick Friedell of ESPN asked him about the Durant trade rumors.

“I played with [Durant] during the Olympics,” Tatum said. “Obviously, he’s a great player, but that’s not my decision. I love our team. I love the guys that we got…

“We got two new pieces [in Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari],” Tatum said. “I love our team. I just go out there and play with my teammates. I don’t put that [general manager] hat on to make decisions.”

Durant, an executive producer on “Point Gods” (about 1980s and 1990s point guards coming out of New York), did not speak to the media.

Durant trade talks, with the Celtics and everyone else, have stalled out in recent weeks (some around the league believe Brooklyn leaked the Boston news to try and light a fire under the talks and get them going again). Boston reportedly offered Brown, Derrick White and a first-round pick for Durant, the Nets countered by asking for Marcus Smart and more picks to be thrown in the mix, and there were likely more talks, more negotiations from there. But the sides didn’t reach a deal and the Celtics backed away from the negotiations for now. (Tatum was never on the table in those talks.)

With Deandre Ayton staying in Phoenix (at least through January) and Miami’s offer not wowing Brooklyn, the focus of a Durant trade conversation has turned to other offers: Toronto’s potential offer based around Pascal Siakam (the Nets want Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes but the Nets won’t put him in a deal yet), or a potential New Orleans offer based around Brandon Ingram (it’s unclear if he has been offered in a trade). A Celtics’ offer with Brown fits in with that.

The Nets tried to use these early offers to try and create a bidding war for Durant in early July, but that never materialized. Teams did not want to overpay and strip their rosters down so far that they couldn’t contend to get the two-time Finals MVP. The Nets have said they would take Durant into training camp (with Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons) rather than take an offer below what they think is fair for KD. Other teams may be ready to call that bluff.

Tatum doesn’t sound like a guy pushing to get Durant into Boston. That keeps the pressure off Celtics decision maker Brad Stevens, who can say he wants KD on his terms or he’ll go into the season with the title favorite he has already.