Chances Celtics, Jaylen Brown reach contract extension reportedly “pretty slim”

Kurt Helin
NBC Sports

The bill is coming due in Boston.

For years Boston was the team with promising young players and a treasure chest of draft picks. Now all those trade chips have been cashed in through a series of moves that didn’t pan out as well as Celtics’ fans hoped — and the bill is starting to come due on the picks they kept.

Starting with a potential rookie contract extension for Jaylen Brown, the two sides have until Oct. 21 to reach a deal. Although it is not likely to happen reports Sean Deveney at Heavy.com.

According to a league source, “the chance is pretty slim” that Brown signs a long-term deal with the team in the coming month. Around the league, the expectation is that Brown and the Celtics won’t come to a deal.

Brown would still be under contract for this season, at $6.5 million (that would be the case even with the extension). He would become a restricted free agent next summer, which means Boston would still control his rights and be able to match any contract offer he received.

There are a few key reasons an extension is unlikely. First, Boston with Danny Ainge has not been a team that agrees to a lot of extensions of rookie contracts. They didn’t with Kelly Olynyk, they took their time with Marcus Smart, and this summer rather than keep Terry Rozier he was packaged in a sign-and-trade with Charlotte for Kemba Walker.

Second, Boston is a capped out team the next couple of years. For example, they are $13 million below the tax line this season, and next season they will be flirting with it again (unless Gordon Hayward opts out of his $34.2 million final year then bolts the team, something that seems unlikely). Whatever salary the Celtics agree to for Brown could have them paying the tax.

Finally, there is the biggest obstacle: What is the salary figure for a Brown contract extension? The two sides are not going to see eye to eye on that.

To provide a little context, Brown had a somewhat down season early on (didn’t every Celtic) but bounced back later last season and averaged 13 points and 4.2 rebounds a game shooting 34.4 percent from three. However, in stretches, he looked much better than that, including having a strong run with Team USA this summer at the FIBA World Cup.

The Celtics are not going to give Brown a five-year, $168 million max extension, which is what Ben Simmons in Philadelphia and Jamal Murray in Denver got. The only other rookie extension agreed to so far this summer is Caris LeVert with the Nets for $52 million over three years, or $17.3 million a year average.

Boston may be open to re-signing Brown at a LeVert number, around $17 million or $18 million a year, but Brown certainly thinks he’s worth north of $20 million (especially after his strong FIBA performance). Brown may even believe that if he has a good season, then hits the restricted free agent market next summer in a very down free-agent class, some team may offer a max to try to poach him. Brown may want to bet on himself.

Everyone is going to let this play out, a deal is unlikely. But it’s something to watch as the season moves along — and remember Jayson Tatum becomes extension eligible next summer, too.

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