Danny Ainge confident Celtics will 'be able to work something out' with Jayson Tatum


Perhaps the most pressing issue for Danny Ainge this offseason is finding a way to lock up Jayson Tatum to a long-term deal.

Tatum is eligible to be offered a max contract of five years at around $158 million. He has two years left on his rookie deal, with the Celtics having the ability to offer the forward a qualifying offer ($13 million) as a restricted free agent following next season.

Appearing on a Zoom call with the media Thursday, Ainge seemed optimistic regarding the idea of keeping Tatum around for an extended period of time.

"I haven't been able to have those conversations yet with Jason or Gordon (Hayward) or Enes (Kanter) or anybody ... We'll have to wait until the rules allow us to have those conversations.

"Jason knows how much we like him. We have a good relationship. Jason likes it here. So I'm confident that we'll be able to work something out this offseason."

It is a conversation Tatum wasn't ready to engage in following his team's season-ending loss to the Heat.

"We just lost this series,” Tatum said. “I’m just thinking about the guys in that locker room and the game. That’s what I’m thinking about. Stuff like that when it happens, if it happens, is not really my concern, not really thinking about that."

As for the rest of the Celtics' roster, Hayward represents the next most notable offseason decision, with the forward having the ability to opt-out of the final year of his current deal ($34 million). That decision is due Oct. 17.

Kanter also has a player option for 2020-21 that would pay him just more than $5 million if he opts-in.