Jaylen Brown’s Extension Decision Looms For Celtics
After wrapping up his seventh season in the NBA, Celtics star forward Jaylen Brown isn’t feeling like much of a star right now. Despite a second-team All-NBA season, Brown struggled in spurts throughout the playoffs. Reports of injuries came up, giving him an out for his bad play. It wasn’t all bad, but many Boston fans will be furious if he gets extended.
With his All-NBA selection, he’s now eligible for the supermax extension of 5 years, $295 million. He’s going into the final year of his contract, being owed over $31 million in 2023-24.
The Case For Not Signing The Extension
First off, the extension will eat up a ton of cap space for the Celtics, potentially threatening their ability to contend in the coming years. Tatum will be due for a supermax extension that would kick in for the 2026-27 season. Building a strong team will be extremely difficult when both players make upwards of $60 million yearly. Proven role players like Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White won’t be easy to keep around when Tatum and Brown make that much money.
The alternative might not be ideal, though. Trading him this summer would likely provide the best ROI, as teams would acquire him with a year left and the belief they could re-sign him. Damian Lillard is a name that’s been thrown around a little bit. He’s 33 years old and carries a heavy cap hit near $50 million for each of the first two years.
His scoring ability and veteran presence are highly coveted, but a trade like this would probably shorten their championship window. Nonetheless, a player of his caliber in return would be best case scenario if the Celtics elect to move on from Brown.
The Case For Signing The Extension
While the taste in Boston fans’ mouths is bitter after losing to Miami in the Eastern Conference Final, the Celtics have made it to this round five of the last seven seasons. The argument can be made that despite all the failures to reach the mountain top, they are still a young team.
We’ve seen from the Celtics that they’ve been able to make deep runs in the playoffs but have struggled with adversity at the end of games and series. At only 26 years old, Brown has been a part of 105 playoff games in his young career, giving him the experience some 36-year-olds in the league don’t even have. That will surely only benefit him in future playoff situations.
The other important factor to weigh is the team chemistry part of this decision. Tatum and Brown have evidently become closer as friends and teammates. In the NBA, especially, it’s important to keep the best player on the team happy. It’s hard to imagine Tatum being okay with the Celtics trading Brown.
Boston isn’t losing any major free agents outside of potentially Grant Williams, who didn’t play particularly well down the stretch anyway. Head coach Joe Mazzulla will return for a second year, as well. Despite their failure to get back to the NBA finals, creating consistency for a team that hasn’t seen it in some time will be huge.
Most Likely Outcome
All in all, an extension for Brown seems most likely, but money will play a big factor going forward. Bringing the same group back will create high expectations, but expect them to be poised for another dominant year and, hopefully, a championship soon.