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Jaylen Brown agrees to largest contract in NBA history with Celtics, five years, $304 million

Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown

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Jaylen Brown has agreed to the richest contract in NBA history.

As had been expected since he made All-NBA this season, but took a while to come together, Brown and the Boston Celtics agreed to a supermax contract of five years, $303.7 million. The news was broken by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Marc Spears of ESPN and confirmed by a source to NBC Sports.

This contract is for a fully guaranteed five years with no player option, but it does include a trade kicker. That kicker can only take him up to the maximum contract allowed at the time of any trade, which likely is less than the full 15% of the kicker, but with the salary cap expected to jump 10% a year for several years to come with the new TV deal on the horizon, that kicker could be valuable if he does get traded down the line.

This contract is massive (it dwarfs Nikola Jokic’s five-year, $276 million extension of a year ago, but the NBA salary cap is rising that fast).

It’s also a contract the Celtics had to give him. Brown is an All-NBA two-way wing player, and having him next to fellow star wing Jayson Tatum has all but assured this team a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals (three of the past four years). With roster shakeups that include the addition of Kristaps Porzingis, this is a Boston team that enters next season as one of the title favorites — none of that happens if Brown is not on the roster. However, with Marcus Smart gone, more will be asked of Brown in terms of being a leader on the court and in the locker room, to bring the measure of consistency and grit to this team that Smart tried to bring but the Celtics have lacked at points in recent years.

When this extension kicks in next season the Celtics will be a team over the second apron of the luxury tax (barring moves to cut salary), meaning they cannot sign anyone with the mid-level exception, cannot sign players off the buyout market, and there are rules limiting them on trades and more. The Celtics’ roster building around their stars will be limited (basically adding minimum players and the draft).

Brown averaged 26.6 points per game and grabbed 6.9 rebounds a night while being a plus defender on the perimeter last season. While his 3-point shooting fell off (33.5% last season) and he struggled in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat, the Celtics would not have been in that position without Brown. Off the court he is a leader as well, one active in the community in Boston and his native Atlanta, plus he is the vice president of the National Basketball Players Association.

Giving Brown a supermax contract was a no-brainer, even if the numbers are eye-opening. Now the Celtics will lean on him to help hang banner No. 18 in The Garden.