There was quite the stir caused on Thursday when news broke that Jaylen Brown turned down a four-year, $80 million contract extension. Does he actually deserve more than that, and should the Boston Celtics consider breaking the bank on the fourth-year forward?
With only five days left until Boston Celtics basketball, it seems like a bad time to talk about potential changes to the team. Unfortunately, Jaylen Brown‘s contract negotiations may force Danny Ainge to consider a trade this season or a sign-and-trade next June in free agency.
While Brown has been effective for the better part of the past three seasons in Beantown (most notably during the 2018 playoffs), he has not played his way into anything close to a max contract offer.
It really doesn’t take much beyond the eye-test to realize Brown isn’t a worth that sort of investment quite yet, but even a skin-deep look into the stats confirm that belief. In his best season, Brown was a 14.5 point-per-game scorer who grabbed five rebounds per game. Those numbers simply do not scream max contract guy.
By comparison, Caris LeVert scored 14 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out four assists last season–his best as a pro. He was rewarded a $52 million extension over three years for a Brooklyn Nets team who had all but completed their rebuild. With Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie signed to long-term deals, and guys like Jarrett Allen and Rodions Kurucs being under team control for several years, the Nets could have splurged on the fourth-year forward.
Instead, they set the market. Brown may turn out to be a casualty of Sean Marks‘ ability to avoid overpaying for talent. He figures to feel that sting as the rookie extension deadline passes this Monday.
Ainge could deny any and all rumors surrounding negotiations with the former #3 overall pick, but it is obvious the two sides have a much different view on how they want things to unfold. For the Boston Celtics, the luxury tax could be ominously looming with Gordon Hayward having a player option worth $32.7 million for the 2020-21 season and Jayson Tatum being due for a new deal two years from now.
Brown has not shown what it takes to garner max contract consideration from the Boston Celtics or any other team for that matter. Given his participation in Team USA Basketball this past summer, it seems like Brown could be primed for a career year–just in time for his first massive pay-day.
As of right now? There is simply no justifiable way to hand him a max contract. $80 million was already pushing it, but his mediocre numbers combined with the fact that he lost his staring job to Marcus Smart for the Celtics last season shows he has a lot to prove before making such lofty demands.