Jayson Tatum Says He Played a 'Big Part' in Kemba Walker Signing with Celtics

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2019

Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum runs up court after making a three-pointer during the first half of Game 3 of a second round NBA basketball playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks in Boston, Friday, May 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Players recruiting other players is a key part of NBA free agency, and it seems like Jayson Tatum did his job as the Boston Celtics landed point guard Kemba Walker this offseason.  

"I'm very excited," Tatum said about the free-agent addition, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. "I think I had a big part with him coming here. I was with him in Paris. I never told him to come, but I told him I would love for him to join the team and told him how it was. Obviously, everybody has to do what's best for themselves, and I'm happy for him."

The two spent time together this summer at a Jordan Brand event in Paris, which might have been enough to seal the deal.

Walker signed a four-year, $141 million contract with Boston at the beginning of July.

As Tatum explained, he sold the three-time All-Star on all the positives surrounding the organization. 

"I just told him about Boston, the city, the atmosphere, our fans, the culture, the coaching staff. I answered all the questions he had," he said. "I'm excited and just ready for the season to start and everybody to be around each other and build some chemistry and just get it going."

Walker also said Tatum played a role in convincing him to join the Celtics earlier this month in an interview with Jackie MacMullan of ESPN:

"We spoke for quite some time," Walker told MacMullan. "... When we left Paris, as the days went on and free agency came and I made my decision, a lot was because of him."

Walker also referred to Tatum as a "high-character guy."

The point guard is a pretty impressive pull for a player heading into just his third NBA season. If things go well this year, Tatum would deserve a lot of credit for helping put the team together after losing Kyrie Irving to free agency.

On the other hand, the 21-year-old has to be careful of tampering charges considering Walker made his decision well before the official start of free agency.