Jayson Tatum will join the Celtics when Boston travels to the Walt Disney World Resort this week, but he almost didn’t.
The 21-year-old told reporters during a Zoom call Tuesday he was “very unsure” about whether or not to opt out of the season up until “a few days ago.” And he says there was a “multitude of reasons” why he wasn’t, and still isn’t, “thrilled” by the idea of playing in the NBA’s bubble environment.
Tatum did clear up one rumor, however: He wasn’t considering sitting out over money.
“I knew that if I didnât play without people hearing why I wasnât going to play, I knew they would assume I didnât want to play because I didnât want to risk losing out on that contract,â Tatum said. âAnd that would be insensitive, especially during this time when so many people have to file for unemployment, for me to be worried about x-amount of dollars. So that didnât have anything to do or sway if I was going to play or not. For me, the main concern was just being away from my son. Thatâs what was most important to me, and if I was or wasnât going to play.”
Tatum still knows there’s plenty of risks by going to Orlando, but he won’t judge players that decide to opt out, either.
âNothing is guaranteed, no matter if they say âYouâre young enough, no matter what youâre still getting paid,ââ Tatum said. âI think itâs still putting a lot on the line. I know a lot of people wonât really care that much because they feel like we make so much money, which is true. But … I understand guys like (Davis) Bertans that decided to sit out because he has dealt with injuries, and he was looking to get paid this summer. I mean, it makes sense. Everybody has their own reasons for not playing, and I donât fault anybody. Itâs a tough decision to go through.â
The Celtics are scheduled to resume play July 31 against the Milwaukee Bucks.