Celtics

How to get past the sticker shock with Jaylen Brown's $115 million extension

How to get past the sticker shock with Jaylen Brown's $115 million extension

There will be understandable sticker shock when many see the four-year, $115 million extension that Jaylen Brown agreed to on Monday afternoon.

While we wait to find out exactly how much of that total is incentivized, there’s no denying that a $28.8 million average annual value is a big number. And while it’s not the full max that fellow 2016 draft class members Ben Simmons, Jamal Murray, and Pascal Siakam received, it is significantly more than some other reported deals struck Monday by Buddy Hield (four years, $94 million), Domantas Sabonis (four years, $87 million), and Dejounte Murray (four years, $64 million).

So why did the Celtics splurge this early when they had an ability to match any offer that Brown might have received next summer? Boston’s strategy centers on locking up a player whose future they are bullish on, particularly when the team was unlikely to have cap space to work with in the near-term future.

Some things to remember when digesting the price tag of Monday’s extension:

1) The Celtics already had $69 million in guaranteed contracts next summer and that total could escalate quickly if Gordon Hayward and Enes Kanter opt in to the final years of their deals (a combined $39.4 million). Factor in Brown’s $19.6 million cap hold and the Celtics were going to have no cap space without renouncing their rights to Brown. Remember, too, the list of potential free agents was going to be paltry with Brown in line to be the potential gem of the class pending his performance this season. Barring a step back, the Celtics might have had to pay Brown upwards of max money. This deal could end up saving them money in the long term, though Brown certainly hasn’t played to a consistency that would suggest that’s a sure thing yet.

2) The Celtics had a murky path to simply be players in the potentially bountiful free-agent class of 2021. Jayson Tatum will be extension eligible next summer and, even if the Celtics waited on that, he’d carry a $29.7 million cap hold the following summer. Boston has positioned itself to pounce early next offseason and lock up Tatum, essentially committing to a core of Kemba Walker, Tatum, and Brown for the foreseeable future.

3) Boston’s payroll is going to be very top-heavy starting in the 2021-22 season. If Brown and Tatum are both extended by that point, Boston will have nearly $100 million committed to a trio of Walker/Smart/Tatum (and Marcus Smart is on the books for another $14.3 million). The team will be forced to get creative with how to fill out its roster. It puts a premium on draft and development, including of the multi-member rookie class that’s providing end-of-the-roster depth this season.

4) Brown’s salary this season is not impacted. He’ll earn $6.5 million and the Celtics remain well south of the $138.9 million hard cap for landing Walker via sign-and-trade. While the extension makes it hard to see Brown being moved this year (his outgoing salary would factor in extension money), the Celtics still have the flexibility to make other moves this season to alleviate any wing congestion that might develop.

The Celtics are likely hoping that a new deal takes any pressure off Brown and allows his natural abilities — the ones displayed in full during the 2018 playoffs — to shine through in the post-Kyrie era.

Brown has already shown encouraging progress in areas of his game this preseason, from a renewed focus on ball-handling to better court vision to being able to finish with both hands at the basket.

“Jaylen has made tremendous strides over the last three years and has become a fantastic player for us on both ends of the court,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in Boston’s release announcing the extension. “He’s a great person and hard worker who, at 22 years old, can score and defend against the best players in the NBA. Jaylen is a true professional who did a great job accepting his role last season, and he is a major part of our championship goals.”

And the Celtics paid him like someone they believe capable of putting them on a path back to title contention. Boston is splurging more for potential than performance but they’re hoping that — a few years from now — the deal will look far more modest as the league’s top salaries begin to bloat over $40 million per season for veterans on max deals.

The Celtics have done their part in committing to Brown. Now it’s on the player to prove he was worth the investment.

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The Enes Kanter Show: Awesome story about Kevin Garnett's Celtics arrival

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

The Enes Kanter Show: Awesome story about Kevin Garnett's Celtics arrival

Everyone has a great Kevin Garnett story. And Enes Kanter's pretty much sums up how intensely committed KG was to winning.

The Boston Celtics forward recently ran into Garnett in Boston at the regional premiere of "Uncut Gems," a new movie Garnett stars in with Adam Sandler.

According to Kanter, Celtics lead owner Wyc Grousbeck also was at the premiere and told Kanter of the first time Garnett walked into TD Garden after being traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Celtics in the summer of 2007.

Here's Kanter with NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg on the latest episode of "The Enes Kanter Show:"

(Grousbeck) told me a story. He said, "When KG came to the Celtics, he stopped and looked at every (championship) banner for 30 minutes. For 30 minutes. And he studied (them). ... Before he came (to Boston), we had 16 banners. So, that's 30 minutes for every banner. And it's like, 'How do you spend that much (time)?' 

As Forsberg pointed out, that's essentially eight hours of Garnett staring at the TD Garden rafters and soaking in the franchise's rich history.

That may have been some hyperbole on Grousbeck's part, but if anyone would be that maniacally focused on success, it's the uber-competitive Garnett.

"Anybody else, I would be like, 'That's an exaggerated tale,' " Forsberg said, "but I can actually believe that with KG."

Garnett's commitment to winning paid off instantly, as the Celtics raised banner No. 17 to the rafters in his first season with the team in 2007-08.

Kanter and Forsberg also discussed what makes Garnett such a great trash talker, how his current minutes situation differs from his time with the New York Knicks, what the Celtics' chemistry is like on this team and much more.

Hear more from Kanter and Forsberg on Episode 5 of "The Enes Kanter Show," which drops every Wednesday on YouTube and the NBC Sports Boston podcast network.

 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics Talk Podcast: How will ex-Celtics' big man Al Horford be received in return to Boston with 76ers?

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NBC Sports Boston Illlustration

Celtics Talk Podcast: How will ex-Celtics' big man Al Horford be received in return to Boston with 76ers?

Al Horford makes his return to TD Garden Thursday night in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform. How will the former Celtics big man be received now that's he joined one of Boston's key rivals in the East?

That's just one of the many storylines ahead of Philly's first game in Boston and the first meeting for the teams since the Sixers easily defeated the Celtics back on opening night in late October. 

Kyle Draper and Chris Forsberg talk about it in the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast. 

"It should be all love," said Draper, "but let's keep it real: The way Horford went about it, some people aren't happy about it. It sounds like him and the Sixers had some kind agreement before you're allowed to actually talk. I get the sense that they [the Celtics] were caught off guard a little bit."

LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HERE:

Earlier in the podcast, Forsberg is joined by Sixers reporter Serena Winters from NBC Sports Philly to talk about all things 76ers, including Ben Simmons, Horford's veteran influence on the team and where Boston and Philadelphia are now as compared to the opener. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pacers, which tips off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.