PHOENIX SUNS

Jayson Tatum wanted to skip Boston workout, play for Phoenix Suns

May 11, 2020, 1:51 PM | Updated: 6:44 pm
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives against Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics at TD Gard...
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives against Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on December 19, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum said in a podcast that he originally would’ve preferred to get drafted by the Phoenix Suns and play for then-head coach Earl Watson.

Tatum, who was drafted in 2017 third overall by the Boston Celtics, has gone on to be an All-Star and averaged 23.6 points per game last year. The Suns were set to pick right after that at fourth overall, and during the pre-draft process, the tides nearly turned a different way as Tatum wanted to skip a workout with Boston and get drafted by Phoenix.

“Earl [Watson’s] my guy. I went to dinner with him,” Tatum told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s All the Smoke podcast. “The next day, I remember he picked me up, he had a white [Mercedes-Benz] G Wagon, he drove me around and showed me like all the houses where the players live at.

“I called my fam, my mom, I’m like, ‘Yo, I think I want to go to Phoenix.’ Earl Watson, he’s like, ‘You come to Phoenix, you and D-Book, two light-skinned killers, I’mma let y’all rock out,'” Tatum said. “I’m sitting in the car, like, ‘This sounds good! I think I want to come here.'”

After the meeting with Phoenix, Tatum said he went back to his hotel and got ready to fly back home when his agent called him, telling him that Boston GM Danny Ainge wanted him to fly out for a workout the next day.

“I’m like, ‘No, I don’t want to go to Boston, I like it out here in Phoenix, it’s cool,’ Tatum said. “‘The weather’s nice, I get a big house, I get a pool, my mom’s going to be alright.’ He’s like, ‘Brad Stevens a great young coach and they’ve got a great history.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not trying to hear that, I want to go to Phoenix.’ So then my agent was like, just think about it.”

Tatum’s head coach at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, called him thereafter and convinced him to do the workout with Boston.

“So I’m like, ‘Ugh, alright.’ So I go,” Tatum said.

Meanwhile, Ainge had flown from Boston to Sacramento to scout Josh Jackson, who canceled his workout with the Celtics mid-flight. Ainge, who comedically complained that “there’s nothing to do in Sacramento,” had to return home after his pointless cross-country flight.

Perhaps the Celtics would’ve instead taken Jackson had they been able to scout him, but they went with Tatum. Jackson fell to fourth overall, and the two career arcs are dramatically different. While Tatum has been successful in Boston, on- and off-court disappointments for Jackson led to him getting shipped to Memphis in a trade last summer. He only got in 18 NBA games this past season.

Watson took to Twitter to add more context from his end.

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at the start of the the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23...
Associated Press

2022-23 NBA schedule clears Election Day of games

The NBA's schedule for the coming season will have all 30 teams playing on Nov. 7, the night before the midterm elections.
15 hours ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns and Dwight Powell #7 of the Dallas Mavericks jump for the ope...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns get rematch vs. Mavericks on opening night, per report

The Phoenix Suns' regular season will begin at home against the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 19, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
2 days ago
The Phoenix Suns mascot "The Gorilla" on the court before NBA game against the Golden State Warrior...
Arizona Sports

Report: Phoenix Suns to play Denver Nuggets on Christmas Day

The Phoenix Suns will head to Denver to face the Nuggets on Christmas Day this upcoming season, Mike Singer of the Denver Post reported. 
3 days ago
Bill Russell, left, star of the Boston Celtics is congratulated by coach Arnold "Red" Auerbach afte...
Kevin Zimmerman

NBA retires No. 6 jerseys, to add jersey patch honoring late Bill Russell

Bill Russell's No. 6 jersey is the first to be retired across the NBA. Players will wear the patch on the shoulders this year.
6 days ago
Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the first half of Game One of the Western Confere...
Kevin Zimmerman

ESPN’s NBA staff still mighty high on 2022-23 Phoenix Suns

If you were wondering why the Suns have attacked the offseason with tinkering, it might be time to remember the past two full seasons.
7 days ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety Marc...
Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald, Pedro Gomez in 2022 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class

Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald and late journalist Pedro Gomez are among the 2022 class entering the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
7 days ago
Jayson Tatum wanted to skip Boston workout, play for Phoenix Suns