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Latest Buzz on Jayson Tatum Contract, Justin Anderson Signing, More

Jake RillSenior Analyst IIIJune 27, 2020

Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum plays against the Houston Rockets in overtime during an NBA basketball game in Boston, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Two of the top players to come from the 2017 NBA draft class are Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Sacramento Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox. They've each constantly improved over their first three NBA seasons and are integral pieces of their respective teams' lineups.

Soon, both Tatum and Fox could be signing long-term extensions to stay with their teams. And it could happen potentially as soon as this upcoming offseason.

Here's some of the latest buzz from around the NBA, including possible extension buzz for Tatum and Fox.

      

Latest on Tatum's future in Boston

Tatum is only in his third NBA season, but he's quickly developed into one of the league's top forwards. This season, he's averaging career highs in points (23.6), rebounds (7.1), assists (2.9), steals (1.4) and blocks (0.9) per game, while shooting 44.8 percent from the field over 59 contests. Tatum also earned his first career All-Star selection and has helped the Celtics remain one of the top teams in the NBA.

With Tatum continuing to improve as he gets more experience, it's easy to see why Boston would have interest in signing the 22-year-old to a long-term extension. However, if Tatum and the Celtics work out a deal soon, where there is uncertainty surrounding the salary cap because of the coronavirus pandemic, he may not quite get as big of a payday as if he waits to sign a max extension.

That may not be influencing Tatum's thinking, though, as A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports said during an appearance on the Celtics Talk podcast that Tatum is interested in working out a deal to stay in Boston soon.

"From what I’m being told, Jayson at this point is leaning toward signing a max deal when he’s eligible and going from there," Blakely said on the podcast (h/t HoopsHype).

If Tatum stays with the Celtics for at least four or five more seasons, then they likely will remain a top team in the Eastern Conference and perhaps make a push for an NBA title.

       

Teams interested in signing Anderson before restart

ERIE, PA - MARCH 3: Justin Anderson #10 of the Long Island Nets shoots a free throw a G League game between the Erie BayHawks and the Long Island Nets at the Erie Insurance Arena on March 3rd, 2020 in Erie, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ackno
Robert Frank/Getty Images

Although Justin Anderson was a first-round draft pick in 2015, after a strong three-year college career at Virginia, he's yet to make much of an impact in the NBA. He's played for four teams in five years and has appeared in only three games this season, which came with the Brooklyn Nets.

However, Anderson just had a solid season in the G League, as he earned third-team All-NBA G League honors after averaging 20.6 points in 31 games for the Raptors 905 and the Long Island Nets.

With NBA teams able to sign free agents during the league's current transaction window, which goes until Tuesday, SNY's Ian Begley reported Friday that there are "several teams" among the 22 that will be in action when the season resumes in Orlando that have "expressed strong interest" in signing Anderson.

"Those playoff contenders highly value Anderson's defense," Begley wrote in a tweet.

Anderson's best NBA season came in 2016-17, when he averaged 7.1 points over 75 games for the Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers. After a solid stint in the G League, the 26-year-old small forward could be in position to produce better NBA results if he gets another opportunity in the league.

     

Is Fox likely to stay in Sacramento long term?

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

This October, point guard Fox will be eligible to sign a max extension with the Kings, who selected him with the No. 5 overall pick in 2017. And according to Jason Jones of The Athletic, there isn't any reason to believe the two sides won't come to an agreement on that deal.

"Concerns as far as him not wanting to sign an extension? I’ve heard none from the organization," Jones wrote. "Fox is becoming what the Kings envisioned when he was drafted in 2017 and is the key to the rebuilding process being successful. The Kings are committed to Fox being the team’s next star. It would take something completely unforeseen to change that."

This season, Fox is averaging a career-high 20.4 points over 45 games, along with 6.8 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. He's also shooting a career-best 47.5 percent from the field.

Still only 22, Fox should continue to get better and be a key member of the Kings' lineup for years to come, if he signs a max extension with them. Sacramento hasn't reached the playoffs since the 2005-06 season, but if it continues to add strong pieces around Fox, then perhaps its postseason drought will end soon.

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