Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has been selected for the second consecutive year to take part in the Rising Stars game, a showcase for the league’s top first- and second-year players at All-Star weekend in Charlotte.
“I expected it, but I don’t take anything for granted,” Tatum said. “I’m excited and thankful just to be part of the weekend. It’s something I always dreamed about as a kid, to be a part of All-Star weekend.”
Tatum will play for the US team, which will be coached by his Celtics teammate, Kyrie Irving. Tatum said before Wednesday night’s 126-94 win over the Hornets he had yet to speak to Irving about the event.
“But he’s going to let me do whatever I want,” Tatum said with a chuckle.
Irving has already been named an All-Star starter.
“It’s fun that Kyrie gets a chance to coach [Tatum] and be around him even more,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “It’s cool that he gets to do that . . . I think it’s a foregone conclusion that we thought Jayson Tatum would be in that game. That just tells you the level he’s played at, how good he can be and is right now. It’s always an honor for those guys to go and represent Boston.”
A source told the Globe last week that Tatum will also take part in the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday. The full contest lineup and the All-Star reserves will be announced on Thursday night.
Anthony Davis’s request to be traded from the Pelicans has become one of the most dominant storylines of this season. The Celtics would not be able to complete a trade for Davis until July 1 because teams cannot acquire two players on designated rookie extensions, and Irving already fits that bill.
But Boston is expected to make a strong push to acquire Davis when the time comes. Tatum is viewed as Boston’s top trade chip, though the Celtics might be reluctant to part with him. Tatum, for his part, said he is not getting caught up in the situation.
“I mean it’s good to be wanted, I guess you can say that,” he said. “But I don’t have any control. Control what I can control, go out there and play.”
Irving out again
Irving on Wednesday missed his second consecutive game due to a strained left hip, but Stevens said he was feeling better. “Hopefully he’ll be available, if not Friday [against the Knicks] then soon thereafter,” Stevens said.
When the Celtics entered the locker room on Wednesday night, blue Patriots T-shirts that said “Beat LA” on them were draped over their chairs. A team spokesman said the shirts were a gift from Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman.
Edelman frequently attends Celtics games. Earlier this season he wore a No. 11 Celtics jersey with his name on the back, and later sent No. 11 Patriots jersey with Kyrie Irving’s name on the back to Irving.