Jayson Tatum has become a star on the Boston Celtics and he’s expected to be one of the faces of the league in the future. The former Duke player could have had a totally different tenure in the league, as he has expressed on various occasions.
Besides his love and admiration for Kobe Bryant and his desire to play with the Los Angeles Lakers, Tatum also liked the possibility of playing with the Phoenix Suns in the NBA ahead of the 2017 draft that sent him to the C’s. During an interview with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on ‘All the Smoke’ podcast, Tatum revealed he didn’t even want to workout with the Celtics four years ago.
“Earl [Watson’s] my guy. I went to dinner with him,” Tatum told Barnes and Jackson. “The next day, I remember he picked me up, he had a white [Mercedes-Benz] G Wagon, he drove me around and showed me like all the houses where the players live at.
“I called my fam, my mom, I’m like, ‘Yo, I think I want to go to Phoenix.’ Earl Watson, he’s like, ‘You come to Phoenix, you and D-Book, two light-skinned killers, I’mma let y’all rock out,’” Tatum said. “I’m sitting in the car, like, ‘This sounds good! I think I want to come here.’”
Here’s Jayson Tatum talking about how he really wanted to end up in Phoenix pre-draft. pic.twitter.com/DMQZXu3tt7
— Zona (@AZSportsZone) May 11, 2020
Tatum said that convinced him and he was ready to dismiss any other opportunity he could have in the association. Even when Danny Ainge asked him to fly to Boston for a workout with the Celtics, he was reluctant to go.
“I’m like, ‘No, I don’t want to go to Boston, I like it out here in Phoenix, it’s cool,’ Tatum said. “‘The weather’s nice, I get a big house, I get a pool, my mom’s going to be alright.’ He’s like, ‘Brad Stevens a great young coach and they’ve got a great history.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not trying to hear that, I want to go to Phoenix.’ So then my agent was like, just think about it.”
It was Mike Krzyzewski who convinced the young player to give it a try at Boston and the St. Louis native finally agreed.
“So I’m like, ‘Ugh, alright.’ So I go,” Tatum said.
Earl Watson talked about this last year, too, but he went further saying that his plans for the Suns were teaming up Devin Booker, Tatum, and Jamal Murray. That would have been a great team to coach but several factors ruined the coach’s plans.
Now Tatum is thriving with the Celtics, Booker is one of the best scorers in the league with the Suns and Murray is returning to his best form after recording an impressive run in the Orlando bubble. We can only imagine what could have happened if the Suns landed at least one of Murray and Tatum.