MIAMI — Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has repeatedly said over the past year that he felt disrespected by being cut from last year’s All-NBA teams — a decision that cost Tatum tens of millions of dollars on his current contract.
After Tatum was selected to the All-NBA First Team on Tuesday night, he said Wednesday before Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat that there should be some kind of criteria that voters should follow. to make their selections.
“What’s the saying, a day late and a dollar short?” Tatum asked with a wry smile after the Boston shootout at FTX Arena. “Obviously I’m grateful. The All-NBA First Team, that’s a big deal. So I’m grateful for that recognition.
“It wasn’t really an incentive for me [to make it last year] with the money and all that. It was more fair that I felt a bit disrespectful, and I’ve talked about it a lot, just about the criteria and how it’s voted on is so open… there aren’t really any set rules on who should qualify.
“I think that was the frustrating part. But it happened. Did I think I was a top 15 player last year? A thousand percent. But that’s behind me now, and I did it this year and now we’re trying to win a championship.”
Being left off the roster last year caused Tatum to miss out on a provision in his contract that would have raised his salary to the next level of a contract maximum – 30% of the salary cap – as opposed to the 25 % who typically falls under rookie extensions under an NBA collective bargaining rule named after Derrick Rose.
This year, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young qualified for that same bump by making the All-NBA Third Team, while Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, are now eligible to sign huge four-year supermax contract extensions. been because they did.
Although Tatum said he wasn’t sure what the criteria for voters should be, he said he thought it should go from positions (guard, forward and center) to no position, and he argued his point in saying that was not the case. it only makes sense that Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, who finished second to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in MVP voting, should be a second-team All-NBA player.
The irony is that if the league had been out of position with its balloting this year, Tatum would have been the second team and Embiid would have been the first.
“There should just be rules in place,” Tatum said. “I don’t know exactly, but maybe you should play a certain number of games, or maybe you are a playoff team or not.
“I think it should be like the top 15 players. Obviously with some guys in a contract year, supermax deals involved, it’s tough. I’m sure it’s tough for the voters as well. I So think there are a lot of things that could be changed in this area, in this regard.
After Boston disappointed last year, finishing with a .500 record in the COVID-19-shortened 2020-21 regular season, Tatum finished just out of the vote. He said the main reason for his inclusion this year, besides Boston playing better, was his improved game.
“We won more games than last year,” he said. “But I think the game, just being able to read the game better has slowed it down in a lot of ways. And I think that only showed with my ability to play and lead the attack at times. .”