The Boston Celtics gave Jaylen Brown an extension worth up to $115M.
Over the summer, Jamal Murray created a stir when he inked a $170 million extension. Pascal Siakam recently made $130 million this past week. Today, NBA Twitter is aghast at Jaylen Brown’s new $115 million contract. Only difference is, they likely won’t shut up about it. Whatever it is (probably the hatred this country has for Bostonian sports) people just flat out want to see the Boston Celtics fail.
While I had my doubts Jaylen Brown had the leverage to get the nine-figure salary he desired, some serious belt tightening potentially is on the horizon with the NBA’s controversy regarding China and the Hong Kong protests, and the fact the free agent class of 2020 is pretty barren.
Also noting Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis was just taken off the board, so the main prize for the upcoming crop of free agents is Kyle Lowry and Paul Millsap. No team was going to hoard cap space to pay Brown more than what the Boston Celtics easily could have just signed him too.
Players in Brown’s situation get paid because the team is taking a chance on his upside. If Brown becomes a knockdown premier three-point shooter, than his contract will look like a steal.
There are some instances where gambles like this have worked, and some where they haven’t. Recently, the Phoenix Suns paid then-24-year-old T.J Warren $50 million. After two-seasons, Warren’s averaged nearly 19 points, shooting 49/35/77 splits before being traded to Indiana for cash considerations.
Is Brown better than Warren? I hope so. While the two look the same in the box score, Brown’s done it on a team actually contending, while the Suns haven’t had ambitions beyond the lottery in over a decade.
Brown found his stride in the latter half of a miserable, dysfunctional 2018-19 campaign. He saw his role reduced when Gordon Hayward returned, then moved to the bench. Post-All-Star break, Brown shot 50 percent from the field, 41 percent from deep, and averaged nearly 14 points, rounding out to his 2017-18 season averages.
On opening night, Wednesday, versus the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers, Brown will start next to Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and whomever at center. His role is no longer unclear. the Boston Celtics have made their bet on Brown (the first extension Danny Ainge has handed out since Rajon Rondo in 2009).
The days of Boston big game hunting in the summer appear to be over. This is their team for the foreseeable future. Now it is to the trade market in hopes of finding a sufficient starting center.