Besides Jordan Walsh’s promising Summer League run, the last month of Boston Celtics discourse has been governed by a single question: (when) will Jaylen Brown sign a Supermax extension?
We got our answer today, and Brown will be sticking around for the next five years for the low-low price of $304 million. The contract has no player option but does include a trade kicker, which would jack up his salary hilariously high if the Celtics trade him.
To crack some champagne over this moment, I’ll answer the six question-words about the contract:
Who (even is Jaylen Brown)?
He’s an All-NBA forward from Marietta, Georgia who plays for the Boston Celtics. He is really good at basketball.
What (does the deal mean for the Boston Celtics)?
Brown will almost certainly spend the next five years in a Boston Celtics uniform, as the trade kicker attached to the deal would make trading for him like having your stadium robbed by Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner in the 2010 film The Town.
He just inked the richest deal ever, and it gets even richer if another team tries to poach Brown from Boston. That could come back to bite the Celtics if Brown falls off a cliff right in the middle of his physical prime. His name isn’t Ben Simmons, so I think that’s unlikely.
Notably, Brown did not receive a player option in his final year, meaning the team holds all the leverage in any future negotiations. The timeline is very advantageous for both parties, as Brown will be up for another deal for his 31-year-old season. His prime is now locked down.
Where (did Brown sign this contract)?
Umm… I don’t know, probably in Boston. Maybe the Auerbach Center in Brighton?
When (did this all go down)?
Shams Charania broke the news at 11:04 AM Boston time. Presumably, the sides have been negotiating for months, but some breaks for Brown’s fashion week commitments delayed the process, as well as the intricacies of the most expensive deal in NBA history.
It was slightly suspicious how every big-name player signed their super-deals weeks before Brown did, but I imagine the sides were in no hurry. The contract was uncharted territory for both the Celtics and the agency representing Brown, so it’s not surprising it took an extra moment.
Why (would Brown and the Boston Celtics sign this deal)?
Because of a magical little thing called “Bird Rights,” the Celtics could offer Brown an extension about $100 million larger than any other team could. This made signing with a different team next summer financially irresponsible. The Celtics are well aware of how hard it is to find stars, so they pulled the trigger.
The flip side would ask if Brown is really worth the most money ever. He can be maddening to watch or he can be magical, but Brown is pretty comfortably a top-25 player in the league.
Certain reactions on social media arguing that Brown is not worth more than Nikola Jokic—who had until this morning the richest contract ever—completely miss the point. Brown is not worth more than Jokic, rather both guys are just worth whatever the maximum dollar amount they are allowed to receive is. That was smaller last time around and will be bigger next summer. That’s the way it goes.
If this bothers you, get ready for how big a number Jayson Tatum is about to have written next to his name.
Side note: Yes, Bird Rights are named after the man himself Larry Bird, who in 1983 became the first player ever to sign a contract that would push his team over the salary cap, creating an exception that allowed teams to keep homegrown talent. Thanks Larry.
How (did Brown sign the deal)?
With a pen? I’d guess a ballpoint one, unless they really wanted to get fancy and use some sort of calligraphy pen. Ooh, or they could have used a quill and ink like he was John Hancock! It is Boston after all… wait, why am I talking about this?