Pascal Siakam became the third member of the 2016 draft class to ink a maximum-salary extension after reportedly agreeing to a four-year, $130 million extension with the Toronto Raptors on Saturday.
Siakam took the four-year max after both Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Denver’s Jamal Murray previously agreed to five-year extensions this summer. Siakam becomes the face of Toronto’s future as the Kawhi-less Raptors move forward from last year’s championship season.
What does Siakam’s agreement mean for Boston’s Jaylen Brown?
Brown, if he does not come to an agreement with the Celtics on an extension before Monday night’s deadline, is now positioned to be maybe the marquee name among the 2020 free-agent class. With many potential big names off the board — including Draymond Green who agreed to an extension with the Warriors this summer — Brown would be a desirable target for teams even as a restricted free agent.
(This, of course, assumes Anthony Davis elects to re-sign with the Lakers if he opts out of the final year of his deal.)
The more sobering news for Brown is that only a handful of teams currently project to have more than $20 million in cap space next summer. And with many eyes already focused on the potential bumper crop of big-name free agents on the market in 2021, it could limit the among of bidders willing to spend their money, especially while having to wait out an offer sheet that Boston could simply match.
The Celtics have made multiple offers to Brown and his new agent, Jason Glushon, in the ramp to Monday’s deadline. Glushon has been at the team’s practice facility each of the past two days and both sides seem content with how talks have proceeded.
The question is whether they can arrive at a number that works for both sides before Monday’s deadline. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge seemed to hint this week that Boston has already gone higher with its bid than a four-year, $80 million offer that was reported earlier this week. Brown is eligible to receive up to $130 million on a four-year extension (any five-year deal would have to be for the $170 max).
If the sides can find a middle ground — let’s say somewhere in the four-year, $100 million range — maybe there’s a deal to be made before Monday. But Brown could also bank on himself in hopes that a team would commit upwards of max money next summer.
Ainge noted Thursday night how it’s a delicate dance for both team and player.
"I think that when you’re doing a contract extension you’ve got to feel good about it, and the players have to feel good about it, and sometimes it’s hard for you to feel good,” said Ainge. "Sometimes you need the market to dictate what it is you’re going to get paid. So we’re trying to build a championship team and there’s a lot that goes into that, and part of it is managing a payroll.
"And for a player—I’ve been on that side of it, too. It’s basically all about you. It’s your world and you’re comparing yourself to others and it’s a complicated process in some year. Some years you know you’re not going to get a deal or have a deal. And some years a player has more leverage and other years a team has more leverage. So that’s why they’re complicated.”
How does a general manager avoid a player feeling insulted if a team doesn’t want to immediately pay their asking price?
"Again, every negotiation is different,” said Ainge. "Every circumstance, every year, how much money we even have. Some years we don’t even want to do it because we want to preserve salary cap space. There’s a lot of things that go into how much you offer or when you make an offer for a player. But I try to do all I can to show how much I appreciate that players and how much we love them and appreciate what they do.
"It’s just, timing matters.”
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