There's absolutely no doubt that Jayson Tatum is worthy of a max contract. The rising star has turned a lot of heads since entering the league three seasons ago, especially prior to the COVID-19 shutdown.
The Boston Celtics are a lock to offer him something of the likes of a 5-year $170-million dollar max extension this summer. Barring, of course, a career-threatening injury or a medical condition.
That's why, according to New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy, the former Blue Devil is reportedly reluctant to resume the season with the Celtics, as he fears that he may be putting his max extension at risk with an injury or due to Coronavirus:
“Then there’s the threat of injury, which is especially significant to players on the verge of big contracts. According to a source, Boston Celtics’ forward Jayson Tatum, who is eligible for a max extension in the offseason, has expressed reluctance to play for that reason," Bondy reported.
Adrian Wojnarowski had already claimed that Tatum was among several young players inquiring the NBPA about potential league-financed health insurance policies to protect rising stars from career-threatening injuries or medical conditions.
Tatum is averaging 23.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game on 44/39/80 shooting this season and he's embraced the leading role in the Celtics' offense. Needless to say, the team is 100% sold on him and willing to build around him.
That's why, and considering his teammate Marcus Smart already tested positive for the coronavirus, it's pretty normal to think that Tatum will prioritize his health - and securing his bag - before a potential return to play.
On the other hand, the Celtics currently hold the third seed in the Eastern Conference and are one of the biggest contenders to make the Finals, so missing Tatum for the remainder of the season would certainly be a major blow for them.