With rumors of the Celtics’ interest in Kevin Durant persisting, if Boston’s long-term vision is building around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the importance of making sure the latter knows that is understood. That’s why, as he again hears his name brought up in potential trades, the Celtics have been communicating with Brown “all the time.”
And while mismanaging this situation could play a role in Brown leaving Boston when his contract expires after the 2023-24 campaign, an anonymous NBA executive told Heavy’s Steve Bulpett he believes the relationship between the two sides is in good standing.
“I think Jaylen IS long term,” this source stated to Bulpett. “If they want him long term and they’re going to pay him the contract he deserves, I think he’s all-in on Boston. From everything I’ve been told, Jaylen’s a loyal guy. I know frustration can happen when things aren’t ‘t going well, and I think we saw some of that earlier in this past season.
But when you take a step back and look at things, I think he wants to be there. And any problems that could ever happen with that relationship would probably have to come from him getting the idea that they’re not in on him. And right now, I don’t see that from the Celtics. I think they know what they have in Jaylen — now and for the future — and they want to keep that going.”
Brown is eligible to sign a contract extension with Boston starting in October. He could ink a three-year deal worth up to $123 million, factoring in incentives. It’s in his best interest to hold out for the more lucrative offers that will later come his way. For instance, if in one of the next two seasons, Brown, a six-year veteran, makes an All-NBA team, takes home the MVP, or earns Defensive Player of the Year, he’ll become eligible for a five-year , $273 million veteran supermax extension.
It’s also worth noting no other team can offer Brown a veteran supermax extension. Players with his amount of service time are only eligible for it while they’re with the team that drafted them or one that traded for them when that player was still on a rookie contract.
If Brown, who’s gotten better every year, has earned a trip to the All-Star game, and took another step forward during the Celtics’ playoff run, qualifies for such a substantial contract, it’s unclear if Boston will offer it. This author believes the franchise would do so for its second-best player, prioritizing that over investing more into the team’s depth.
Brown, Boston’s second-leading scorer and rebounder in the playoffs, could qualify for a five-year deal with a new team with a starting salary of $40 million in 2024-25. But that contract would be worth about $50 million less than a potential veteran supermax extension from the Celtics.
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To this point, in the league where stars change teams at the highest rate, Boston and Brown have demonstrated their loyalty to each other. But if trading for Durant becomes the latest rumor involving Brown that never comes to fruition, and the latter goes on to qualify for a veteran supermax extension, the Celtics’ commitment to him will get tested like never before.
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