Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum is leaning toward playing for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, according to multiple league sources. Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that Tatum had committed to play.
“It definitely is something to think about,” Tatum said after Boston’s Game 5 playoff loss to the Nets on June 1. “Obviously [been] going two or three years kind of without much of a break. But obviously that’s an incredible opportunity, and something I’ve got to think about further down the line.”
Also on Tuesday, Tatum was not selected for an All-NBA team, meaning his five-year rookie scale extension that begins next season will pay him $163 million rather than $195 million.
Tatum, who was eligible as both a guard and a forward, received 69 total votes, the most of any player who was not selected for one of the three teams, and more than third-team guard Kyrie Irving, who had 61. But Tatum was slotted as a forward because that was the position in which he received the most votes. That designation may have cost him $32 million.
Now Tatum, who averaged 26.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists this season, will likely turn his focus toward winning a gold medal. Team USA opens training camp in Las Vegas July 6 and is scheduled to play exhibition games there against Nigeria, Australia, Argentina and Spain before departing for the Olympics in Tokyo.
In 2019, Tatum joined Celtics teammates Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown on Team USA at the FIBA World Cup. But Tatum suffered an ankle injury in the group stage and missed the elimination round. Team USA was ousted by France in the quarterfinals.
Brown would have been a strong candidate to be selected for the Olympics, too, but he is sidelined after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist.