Celtics’ Jayson Tatum Sends Strong Message to Damian Lillard, New-Look Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks were already regarded as the biggest challenge for the Boston Celtics in both the Eastern Conference and the NBA. Trading for Damian Lillard underlined their commitment to capturing another championship. Jayson Tatum discussed his initial response to the deal with Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes.

“I was surprised,” Tatum told Haynes in a story published on October 5. “You saw the Notre Dame trade talks all summer, and I never heard Milwaukee mentioned.” I had never heard of them being interested. So seeing that when I opened up my phone stunned me.”

Tatum then discussed the work that the Celtics will have to do when they meet the Bucks, on top of the challenge that awaits them.


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“They’re going to have a great team.” There’s no getting around it. At two of those key spots, they have two of the top players in the league. They’ll be difficult, but they’ll be enjoyable. This is a season I’m looking forward to. The league has a lot of really, very excellent teams, and it’s going to be some good basketball this season.”

Lillard definitely makes the Bucks better offensively in the halfcourt, but there is a defensive dropoff between him and Jrue Holiday. Still, Lillard’s reputation should make the Bucks tougher to stop scoring-wise.

Jayson Tatum Pitched Boston to Damian Lillard

Because the Portland Trail Blazers played the long game with Lillard, Tatum tried to convince him to come to the Celtics. During his October 3 interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich,” Tatum revealed how he pitched the Celtics to Lillard.

“Dame is someone I have a really great relationship with, known him for a long time,” Tatum said, as transcribed by MassLive’s Brian Robb. “We played on Team USA together, won a gold medal, so somebody I talk to frequently. I told him Boston would love to have you if he ever considered it.”

Lillard wanted to join the Miami Heat – which didn’t happen – so Tatum only floated the idea around to Lillard when he got the chance.

“I wasn’t trying to change his mind,” Tatum said. “When someone has their mind made up, you have to respect it.  We talk on FaceTime from time to time, so every once in a while, I would tell him Boston is a great place if you didn’t know.”

Lillard ultimately went to the Bucks, which means Tatum will see him more often both in the regular season and potentially in the postseason.

Jrue Holiday Draws Praise From Al Horford

Jrue Holiday had his first practice with the Celtics on October 5 after his trade was official. It didn’t take long for him to leave an impression on his teammates. Al Horford expressed his excitement to have Holiday and why he was impressed with his new teammate.

“I am very happy that he’s here,” Horford told King in an October 5 story. “Very happy. That guy’s unbelievable. He was unscreenable today, making timely shots, nobody was getting by him defensively. The guy’s unbelievable.”

Horford revealed that he was further impressed that Holiday played that well given that he had not been practicing before he was traded.

“He’s been sitting out for the last however many days,” Horford said, “and he just comes out here and dominates like that. That’s pretty impressive.”

Holiday’s addition may very well lead to Horford coming off the bench this season, but given Horford’s excitement and good impression of Holiday, he might not mind.

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