Tony Dejak/Associated Press
Finding himself in Anthony Davis trade rumors, Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum isn’t going to let the outside noise become a distraction.
His only focus is hooping.
“I’ll play basketball anywhere,” Tatum told The Athletic’s Shams Charania. “I’ll play for whoever wants me. That’s my job. I know I can’t control any of that stuff, so I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Trade talk doesn’t bother me. I’ll play for anyone.”
With rumors swirling last month, Tatum pointed out that “it’s good to be wanted,” per MassLive:
The third overall pick in the 2017 draft, Tatum has quickly made a name for himself in Boston. He played a big role in helping the Celtics come within one game of the NBA Finals last season as a rookie despite All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward being sidelined by injuries.
All he has done this season is build on that early success.
Tatum is averaging 16.4 points on 45.6 percent shooting, including 38.2 percent from three-point range while grabbing 6.3 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, he has helped make Boston (37-23) become one of the top contenders to come out of the Eastern Conference this season.
The 20-year-old forward has proven enough to be viewed as a potential franchise cornerstone for years to come—which is why his name has come up in Davis trade rumors.
Boston was unable to make a run at Davis prior to the Feb. 7 trade deadline, as both he and Irving are currently on designated contracts. The Celtics will be able pursue a trade this summer, though, with Irving’s contract set to expire at the conclusion of this season.
Thanks to the likes of Tatum, Jaylen Brown and no shortage of draft capital, Boston is widely viewed as the team that could offer New Orleans the most in return for Davis. While Davis’ father, Anthony Davis Sr., told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com earlier this month that he doesn’t want his son to play for the Celtics, the player himself made it clear during All-Star weekend that he doesn’t care where he gets traded, as long as it gives him a chance to win.
Currently in the second year of his rookie deal, Tatum doesn’t have any control of if he gets traded or where he gets moved to. If he winds up changing uniforms this summer, it appears he will go about business as usual.