Jaylen Brown and the Celtics have until October 21 to agree to a rookie-scale contract extension before Brown becomes an upcoming restricted free agent for this summer, and as of now, they have not reached an agreement.
It remains unlikely for the two sides to reach an agreement before the deadline, so Brown's play this season and the overall free-agent market will determine his price. Given the lack of star power in the 2020 free-agent class and a shortage of cap space around the league after the 2019 spending spree, there's a chance Brown could earn himself a max contract.
This is a complicated situation for the Celtics to navigate, and several NBA executives talked to Hoops Hype's Frank Urbina and gave their thoughts on what Brown could be worth and whether Boston should move on an extension sooner rather than later.
"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," an Eastern Conference executive said to Urbina. "I think if you’re the Celtics, you try to 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.’"
Brown's probably not the Celtics' third-best player right now, but that's neither here nor there. Either way, if the Celtics are going to agree to an extension before the season, it's more than likely to be less than the max or what Brown wants.
The same thing happened with Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier the last two years. They bet on themselves to play their way into better deals than they were offered and it worked out for both. Smart earned a four-year, $52 million deal with Boston and Rozier recently signed a three-year $58 million with the Charlotte Hornets.
What Brown needs to decide is whether he wants to risk earning a contract worth less than what Boston is offering now if the market dries up in the summer or he isn't able to maximize his abilities with Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward with him on the wings.
"Jaylen Brown is in a tough spot," a Western Conference coach told Urbina. "The group of guys that he has around him will play a part in this. I don’t think that his talent level is worthy of a max contract, especially on that roster and with those guys around him."
The Celtics' offense will lean on Brown a bit more than it did last season with Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, so he'll certainly get the chance to earn his money. The questions of his fit with Tatum and Hayward as well as Boston's desire to pay him max-money if they have to will likely be there all season long.
If Brown indeed doesn't get his extension before the season starts, all he can do is just hoop and let the rest take care of itself.
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