NBA Rumor: Jaylen Brown Extension

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According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on the Lowe Post podcast, Boston might have been motivated to lock Brown up after seeing how the market was playing out. “Boston may have had a number that was going to do it for Jaylen Brown all along, but from what I was hearing, Boston improved their offer significantly at the end of negotiations,” Windhorst said. “One of the reasons I think they did that is because… They saw the way things were going. If Buddy Hield gets this, then our guy’s… So.”

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Of the deals, Brown’s $115 million agreement over four years with the Boston Celtics, as originally reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, was the most polarizing to multiple NBA sources. “He’s a stud,” one Eastern Conference executive said, arguing Brown will live up to his contract. “I like the player, but…” another East executive said, balking at the price tag. “I imagine there are incentives. Gotta be,” a Western Conference executive chimed in when the news broke.

But even with history not on Brown’s side, the Celtics have extended the 6-foot-7 swingman an offer of four years and $80 million, league sources told Yahoo Sports. But Brown believes in his ability to one day be a star and is pursuing a bigger offer, sources said. Next season the Celtics will have another major decision: figuring out if Jayson Tatum is worth the rookie-scale max. Should the 22-year-old Brown go the restricted free-agency route, he could end up being one of the top players on the market in July. Whatever he decides to do, he seems content and at peace.

Another Eastern Conference executive further expounded on that: “The Celtics may be thinking that they don’t want to give a max deal to their third-best player, but Jaylen Brown may be thinking that he can be the top free agent next summer if he has a big year. Brown could play his way into a max contract. He’s going to have a bigger role than ever before with Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Marcus Morris gone, and next summer’s free-agent class is weak. If he does play his way into a max deal, Boston can match since he’ll be restricted. I think if you’re the Celtics, you try see if he’d do something around $20 million [per year], but if you want him to be part of your core long-term and want to lock him in, it may make sense to give him more. Boston may be comfortable saying, ‘We’ll give you something around $25 million [per year] now to sort of get a discount and not pay the max.’ And Brown really could be the top free agent available next summer, so I could see the argument for giving him the max.”

If the Celtics and Brown do not agree on an extension prior to the season, Brown would be in line to become a restricted free agent next summer, meaning Boston would have the right to match any offer sheet he signs with another team. Brown, for one, emphasized that he is not focused on it. “I think just coming out and playing basketball is all I’m concerned with,” he said. “The media, the headlines, the articles that are being written about it, I think that’s more of a distraction more than anything. I’m just focused on basketball.”

Western Conference coach: “The teammates who are around a player do play a big part when it comes time for teams to make that kind of investment. They may be worried about being able to pay other core players down the road if they do this extension now. That’s what Boston is going through because they have to make a decision about Jaylen Brown now, with Jayson Tatum eligible for the same extension next summer. Or the front office may be thinking, ‘We shouldn’t give this much money to our third-best player.’ But the player’s value is relative. He may be the ‘third-best player’ on your team, but he’d be the top player on another team and they’re willing to pay him.”

Jaylen Brown, Celtics open extension talks

That reality changes though this fall, as Brown is eligible to agree to a contract extension with Boston ahead of an October 21st deadline. A trio of notable first-round picks have already agreed to terms on a long-term pact with Ben Simmons and Jamal Murray (five-year max) setting the market and Caris LeVert (three years, $52 million) signing a more modest extension with the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics have a lengthy track record (10 years) of not coming to terms on an extension with their first-round picks, and that’s a reality that Brown is very much aware of as he begins negotiations with Danny Ainge and company. Brown confirmed to BSJ that the Celtics have reached out recently to begin discussions.

Jaylen Brown finally hiring an agent?

Brown has made it through three years without an agent. His mother has handled a lot of the responsibilities, and he has worked with a marketing executive. And that was probably a savvy play on his part, as rookie contracts are locked in anyway. But these negotiations are different. One league source said it appears that Brown will retain an agent for these talks. The problem for Brown is that he has not really shown statistical improvement over his three seasons. His per-36-minute numbers are almost identical. So the Celtics will likely be reluctant to make a max extension offer. But it’s unlikely Brown would settle for much less. The probable result is that no deal is finalized before the season begins, meaning Brown will enter next summer as a restricted free agent.

Celtics forward Jaylen Brown could well have as much untapped talent as any young player in the NBA. He was brought along slowly in his first year in Boston and has not had the opportunity to show his full potential as the Celtics have stocked the roster with free-agent talent like Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward (and, now, Kemba Walker). That makes the next four weeks somewhat awkward for Brown and the Celtics, who have until October 21 to agree to a contract extension. According to a league source, “the chance is pretty slim” that Brown signs a long-term deal with the team in the coming month. Around the league, the expectation is that Brown and the Celtics won’t come to a deal.

There’s a chance that approach could backfire with Brown, though. He is highly regarded around the league. He will turn 23 in a month and could have star potential. “It only takes one team to think he is a max player and then he is a max player,” one NBA front-office executive said. “You don’t see a lot of max deals in restricted free agency and the Celtics can match, so it’s still something that can work in their favor. But there will be teams with money next summer and making an offer for a guy his age, with his best basketball in front of him, makes sense.”
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April 11, 2021 | 9:03 pm EDT Update