With only a few hours remaining until the deadline, the Boston Celtics signed Jaylen Brown to a 4-year, $115 million contract extension.
Time was ticking down Monday afternoon for the Boston Celtics to reach an agreement with Jaylen Brown regarding a contract extension. As things stood to start the day, all indications pointed towards Brown becoming a restricted free agent at the end of the upcoming season.
With only a few hours left, Brown reached an agreement to extend his stay in Boston by a further four years, inking an extension worth up to $115 million, cementing the core of Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown moving forward.
It is important to note that while there is no player or team option in this deal, it is incentivized.
Roughly $12 million dollars of this deal are being directly linked to milestones or varying difficulty which Brown will need to reach in order to trigger the payment.
Regardless, a guaranteed $103 million deal for a player who lost his starting position last year is bound to raise eyebrows.
Questions can be raised regarding the decision making process here. Was this deal finalized in an attempt to avoid the type of issues Terry Rozier caused last year? Or were the Celtics worried that another team was going to make on offer they would not be willing to match?
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Simple as it may be to get caught in a game of fantasy GM, trying to rationalize the deal in your own head, the fact of the matter is, the Boston Celtics has tied up one of the most promising young talents in the NBA for the foreseeable future.
While coming off the bench last year, Brown still commanded a 20.3 percent usage rate per 100 possessions, he was also good for 52.9 percent from within the arc according to cleaning the glass.
Showing an ability to get into the paint when driving, however, his suspect dribble when going left was a problem. He would either lose possession or bail out and go right, making it a very easy scheme for opposing teams — just hedge Brown left.
Disappointingly for such an athletic wing, Brown has been dismal at the free throw line throughout his early career. Last season he was a paltry 65.5 percent when shooting free throws, he has never surpassed 69 percent in his first three seasons.
This type of prolonged struggle provides opposing defenses an option when he is barreling down the lane, each foul could possibly save a minimum of a point.
Good news, though. During the preseason Brown showed a vastly improved handle, with a newfound ability to not only drive left but also finish.
He was also shooting 80 percent from the line, which in turn allowed him to find his shooting spots on the floor as defenders were more conscious of pushing up to him in case he blew past them.
If Brown can continue to show these improvements during the regular season, his offense will begin to look like a $100 million-plus player.
At worst Jaylen Brown projects as a 3-and-D type player. That is not to insult him either, as these types of players are highly valuable in the modern NBA. However, if Brown can couple some improved defense with the aforementioned additions to his offense shown in preseason, the Celtics could have one hell of a player on their hands.
Brown is a surprisingly good offensive rebounder, having finished in the 90th percentile among wings for the last two seasons running. Last year he was responsible for grabbing 3.5 percent per 100 free throw attempts of available offensive rebounds off missed free throws.
He is a solid defender capable of being a tough matchup for any team to face, using his athleticism and length to cause his man nightmares.
These types of performances have been fleeting though, as Brown can be prone to getting lost on defensive rotations. This is where he struggles. Should a team play a switch-heavy brand of basketball, Brown can find himself on an island.
A highly intelligent individual, Brown will figure this out sooner or later which will enable him to become a true two-way player.
This will also give us a better idea of his true ceiling.
Jaylen Brown is a player who still projects to have enormous upside. His progression has not been linear though. He has been a key contributor to a team that has reached the playoffs each year he’s been a pro.
If Brown reaches his potential, or even comes close, then this contract will be looked upon as a marvelous piece of business by Danny Ainge.
Should Brown not evolve any further and remains where he currently is as a player then the Boston Celtics will be overpaying for a mid-level 3-and-D player.
When looking at Brown’s production over his career so far, and taking his circumstances into account it becomes easier to side with Danny Ainge here.
But only time will tell how this deal will ultimately be viewed, no matter how much us Celtics fans are willing Brown onto success.