Jayson Tatum called his max extension with the Celtics ‘a dream come true’

"I don’t take that for granted or take it lightly."

Jayson Tatum Height
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum attempts a shot as head coach Brad Stevens looks on during a playoff game. –Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo

Jayson Tatum, who signed a five-year max extension reportedly worth $195 million with the Celtics in late November, said he’s thankful for the opportunity to stay in Boston long term.

“I don’t take that for granted or take it lightly. It’s a big deal, and I’m excited to be here five more years,” Tatum told reporters Tuesday, calling it “a dream come true.”

Tatum, a star forward and reigning All-NBA Third-Team selection, made it clear that his new status doesn’t mean he has to walk around saying it’s his team. He said he doesn’t take that approach, and his focus is on continuing to improve to ultimately reach his full potential.

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He said every part of his game can get better when it comes to efficiency, noting that he can continue to get stronger, extend his range, create off the dribble, and finish through contact at a higher level.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Tatum and fellow cornerstone Jaylen Brown “know what burden and expectations feel like” and appreciate the opportunity in front of them.

“We just think they’re going to get better and better because they love it, they work at it, and they love to compete,” Stevens said Tuesday on the first day of training camp.

Stevens acknowledged that the Celtics aren’t fully healthy at the moment with Kemba Walker (knee), Romeo Langford (wrist), and Tristan Thompson (hamstring) all dealing with injuries. He said they’ll “manage accordingly,” adding that the team has many good, young players to complement some of the top weapons.

With Walker sidelined to start the season, the consensus is that veteran point guard Jeff Teague will likely start in his place. If he doesn’t, he’ll at least see significant minutes off the bench. Whatever his exact role is, Stevens is confident Teague can contribute.

“I think he could be really important, not just early in the season, but all the way through,” Stevens said.

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Stevens said Thompson complements the Celtics’ players well, calling him a “threat at the rim” and someone who “plays very physical.” He said the attention Tatum, Brown, and Co. get will give Thompson opportunities near the basket.

He also addressed the departure of Gordon Hayward, indicating that Hayward “made every effort” to help the Celtics win. Stevens, who said the Celtics wish Hayward well, downplayed the fact that Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, and Hayward have gone elsewhere within the past few years.”

“Everybody left for different reasons,” he said.

The Celtics are set to open the preseason Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m., and the NBA regular season is slated to begin Tuesday, Dec. 22.

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