Damian Lillard

Report: Jayson Tatum called Damian Lillard to pitch him on Celtics

Tatum and Lillard are close from their days as USA Basketball teammates.

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The Damian Lillard sweepstakes appear to be a one-horse race, but apparently that didn't stop Jayson Tatum from shooting his shot.

After Lillard requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers earlier this offseason, the Celtics star called the veteran point guard to try to sell him on coming to Boston, Andscape's Marc Spears said Wednesday on The Oregonian's "Sports By Northwest" podcast.

"I think at 33 years old, (Lillard) looks at the landscape of the West and it’s like, 'I think my chances are better to go out East, and if Miami is able to make the Finals without somebody like myself, what can they do with me?’ So, you don’t make that move unless it’s certainly a calculated risk.

"And I know that Boston -- I know Jayson Tatum has called him, try to get in his ear, but his focus is definitely on Miami."

The Heat are the clear front-runners to land Lillard, to the point where the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams after Lillard's agent reportedly told interested teams that his client was only willing to play for Miami.

The Celtics may have one of those interested teams, however, as they reportedly inquired about Lillard in early July. Lillard also is close with Tatum from their time as USA Basketball teammates during the 2020 Summer Olympics (played in 2021), so it's not surprising that Tatum at least attempted to recruit Lillard to the Celtics.

While Lillard-to-Boston was at least a possibility earlier this summer -- the Celtics had yet to give Jaylen Brown a supermax extension and acquire Kristaps Porzingis via trade -- the Lillard "dream" is effectively dead at this point, and it seems like a formality that he'll join the Heat (or remain in Portland) prior to the regular season.

The good news for Boston fans? Tatum seems just fine with his current situation.

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