Lowe first asked Ainge when he knew he was trading the first overall pick to Philadelphia in exchange for the third overall pick with the idea of drafting Jayson Tatum to which Ainge very ominously answered by saying, “That’s a question I can’t answer honestly. I can’t answer that question for lots of different reasons.”
Ainge then brought up the story that made the rounds this week about Jayson Tatum potentially going to the Suns in the draft. Tatum went on the All The Smoke podcast hosted by Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes and told them he was dead set of going to the Suns before his second workout with Boston.
“My agent called me and he was like ‘Danny Ainge called and said he was gonna trade their pick. They’re gonna go to three and they want you to come to Boston the next day to workout.’” Tatum resounded by saying “Nah, I don’t wanna go to Boston. I like it out here in Phoenix.”
It took a phone call from his head coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, to convince Tatum to go to Boston for the second workout. “Jayson, the Celtics called. They want you to come workout.” Tatum recalled his college coach telling him. “I think Brad Stevens is a great coach and it’s a great place to be. You’ll learn a lot.”
Ainge said on the Lowe Post it wouldn’t have mattered if Tatum came for the second workout or not. The Celtics were drafting him no matter what. “Jayson was never going to end up in Phoenix even if he didn’t come in for that second workout with us days before the draft in Boston. We were still gonna take Jayson Tatum.”
Ainge went on to question the Suns interest in Tatum because of the situation that played out with Boston and Josh Jackson prior to the draft. “Brad Stevens and I had flown cross-country to see Josh Jackson in a workout in Sacramento and he didn’t show… We thought that was Phoenix that had done that. That had prevented him from doing the workout. So you know, listen, in Phoenix the head coach isn’t there any longer, the general manager isn’t there any longer and everyone has their own versions of how drafts would’ve gone.”
Tatum did go on to say that being drafted by the Celtics ultimately “worked out really well” for him and his career. “I’ve really enjoyed being in Boston so far. Playing in the Garden is like no other place. The fans are amazing.”
Photo: (Mary Schwalm – AP Photo)