Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Raptors, which tips off Friday at 6 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call of the game at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.
On the eve of the 2019-20 NBA season, the Celtics agreed to a four-year, $115 million extension with Jaylen Brown, who was entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Celtics and became the first Celtic to get a post-rookie contract extension since Rajon Rondo.
The deal has received mixed reviews from NBA higher-ups so far. But in a recent appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher and Rich", Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge explained exactly why the team invested so much in Brown.
"It’s a lot of money for a lot of players in our league this year, but we really like Jaylen," Ainge said. "We think he’s part of our opportunity to win our next championship. He just turned 23. He’s really young, he’s strong, he’s athletic, he’s capable of playing. … I think he has a very bright future. He’s a great kid, he’s a great teammate, he plays any role, he’s versatile. But his strength and athleticism and smarts allow him to be used in a lot of different ways on the court."
Ainge also was quick to acknowledge that the Celtics aren't paying just for Brown's past production. They are expecting that he will grow, so Ainge called the deal "a bet on [Brown's] future."
"Yeah, it’s a bet on his future," Ainge said. "It’s also the way the league is going. There’s big increases in the salary cap. I’ve been through this 17 years, and I remember when we signed [Rajon] Rondo there was lots of questions, like, ‘What are you doing paying him so much money?’ Same thing with Avery Bradley. Even Marcus Smart, there was a lot of criticism. I just think in two years those contracts turn out to be good contracts, not bad ones.
"So yeah, we’re betting on Jaylen. We really like him, and I’m glad we did get the deal done. I think Jaylen can relax and play and we’ll get the most out of him this year. But we have him for five years under contract now and I’m excited about that in the prime of his career."
In the season opener Wednesday night, Brown totaled eight points and seven rebounds but struggled to stay on the court. He picked up four early fouls against the Philadelphia 76ers and only played 21 minutes as a result. He'll look to improve upon those averages and stay on the floor longer in the Celtics' Friday night home matchup with the Toronto Raptors.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.