The Boston Celtics lost All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer, but they were able to recoup nicely by signing another All-Star guard in Kemba Walker. Walker had no shortage of suitors, but he ultimately decided to sign with Boston, and forward Jayson Tatum thinks that he played a big role in Walker's decision.
"I'm very excited," Tatum said of Walker signing with the Celtics, via 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... I just told him about Boston, the city, the atmosphere, our fans, the culture, the coaching staff. I answered all the questions he had... 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."
Tatum has good reason to feel like he contributed to Walker's decision to sign with the Celtics in a major way, as Walker himself has confirmed it.
"We spoke for quite some time," Walker said of he and Tatum. "When we left Paris and the days went on and [free agency] came and I made my decision, a lot of it was because of him... [We talked] about the city, about the fans, the atmosphere, Coach Stevens, some of the players on the team, how things went last year and stuff like that."
Recruiting is part of being a star player in the NBA, and Tatum clearly already has that part down. Now entering his third season in the league, Tatum is ready to take other steps forward in order to become the co-star that Walker will need if Boston hopes to hang another banner in the near future.
"I'm really looking to take a bigger jump," Tatum said of the upcoming season. "Be more vocal, be more of a leader. Just be a better version of myself."
With Irving, Al Hofrod, Marcus Morris, and Terry Rozier all elsewhere, there will be no shortage of opportunity for Tatum to step up and "be a better version" of himself next season. If he is able to take advantage of that opportunity and blossom into the All-Star-level player that many expect him to become, he and Walker could potentially lead the Celtics to some serious success.