The Celtics are at a crossroads of sorts with Brown, who will become an unrestricted free agent after next season but is eligible for a $ 295 million supermax contract extension this offseason. Boston could give Brown the supermax and double down on the Jays -- or pursue a different path by trading the All-Star wing after a disappointing loss to the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
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So, are the Jays worth keeping together, or is it time to split them up after another season without an NBA title? Former Celtics guard and 2008 NBA champion Eddie House provided some perspective Tuesday on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition.
"It's no shame to get to the conference finals," House said. "This is a young team. So, for people to be down on them ... we've enjoyed so much success with this young core, you're expecting them to finally get over the hump. But eventually, they will.
"I'm not comparing any of these players to Michael Jordan, but it took Michael Jordan some time to (win a title). It took Steph some time to do it. It took LeBron some time to do it. It takes time, and you have to lose sometimes to understand how to win."
House has a point: Brown just finished his seventh season at age 26, while the 25-year-old Tatum has played six seasons. If they had won a title this year, they would have been on schedule -- or even ahead of schedule -- with NBA legends such as Jordan (first title in seventh season, age 27), Stephen Curry (sixth season, age 26) and LeBron James (ninth season, age 27).
In fact, only two NBA Finals MVPs in the last 15 years have been Brown's age or younger -- Giannis Antetokounmpo (age 26) in 2021 and Kawhi Leonard (age 2022) in 2014 -- and eight of those 15 Finals MVPs were age 30 or older, including Boston's own Paul Pierce (30) in 2008.
That's all to say winning an NBA title with a core of young stars is exceptionally hard. While it's disappointing that the Jays have reached four of the last six conference finals with no ring to show for it, they've gained valuable experience that in theory could pay off with championships in their later 20s.
The Celtics still have plenty of work to do this offseason -- head coach Joe Mazzulla needs more experienced assistants on his staff, and the C's likely will have to part with one of their guard trio of Marcus Smart, Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon -- but there's a historical case for staying patient with this team's young All-Star duo.