On July 25, 2023, the Boston Celtics signed a player to the largest contract in NBA history. Normally that would be cause for celebration. Surely that means they just landed one of the best players in the league, right?
Unfortunately, no. They did not acquire LeBron, Giannis, Steph, Embiid, Jokic, or any of the obvious superstars in the NBA. In fact, they didn’t even sign the best player on their own team (Jayson Tatum).
They signed Jaylen Brown, and the terms are staggering.
Celtics Jaylen Brown Contract
The last time Celtics fans saw Brown, he was having an absolute meltdown during Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. When Tatum rolled his ankle on the very first play of the game, Boston desperately needed Brown to pick up the slack. Instead, he folded like an old lawn chair, finishing with as many turnovers (8) and bricked threes (8) as he did made field goals (8). The Celtics lost by 19 at home, allowing an inferior Heat team to walk into the Finals.
That was two months ago, and since then the team has been wrestling with the idea of whether Brown was worth a supermax extension. On the one hand, talented, prime-age wings like Brown don’t grow on trees. They are hard to find and even harder to replace, so potentially losing Brown as an unrestricted free agent next year and getting nothing in return was a scary thought.
But you know what else is scary? Paying more than $60 million a year to a guy who suddenly couldn’t dribble with his left hand during the biggest games of the season.
In a vacuum, Brown is not worth the price tag of his contract — not even close. Last season was the first time in his seven-year career that he made an All-NBA team, and he’s only made two All-Star teams. A player who costs that much should be a megastar, but Brown is merely a really good wingman.
And most importantly for Celtics fans, he’s never won a championship. He disappeared during that Heat series, shooting just 41.8% from the floor and 16.3% from deep. When his teammates needed him the most, he was nowhere to be found, proving he’s not capable of leading a team and being a true No. 1 player.
That has to be concerning for Boston. Tatum and Brown have been together for six seasons now, but they only have one NBA Finals appearance and zero championships to show for it. Last season’s playoffs showed that Brown might be the reason why. The Celtics could have decided to move on and spend that $300 million elsewhere. Instead, they doubled down on a gifted but flawed player who may have already reached his ceiling.
For this deal to be worth it, Brown needs to improve individually and help Boston win a championship. The Celtics currently have the second-best title odds at DraftKings Sportsbook (+500) behind the Denver Nuggets, so the time is now.
If he doesn’t, this contract could go down as one of the biggest mistakes in franchise history.
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