Will Jaylen Brown be a casualty of the Boston Celtics’ future cap crunch?

The NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was created to make life hard on teams like the Boston Celtics. And NBA analysts are already looking at the team as a potential test case of how ball clubs around the league will handle the steep fiscal penalties it imposes on costly contenders.

Among those analysts is The Ringer’s Howard Beck, who recently did some leg work with anonymous opposing executives to hear what the conventional wisdom on Boston’s medium-term future might be. Whatever decisions the Celtics make, it won’t be painless — and could involve dealing away star forward Jaylen Brown in the next few seasons.

“The Boston Celtics are heavily favored to win the East, with a star-studded lineup and a massive payroll—all of which could spell trouble if they stumble again in the spring,” writes Beck.

“It’s going to be challenging to keep Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kristaps Porzingis, Jrue Holiday, and Derrick White in perpetuity, even if they were to win the title,” he adds.

“‘Boston has decisions to make,” he quotes another Eastern Conference executive as saying. “They’re going to have to figure out who’s expendable and who’s not.'”

Beck then turns to the hard stuff. “Does that mean shedding a talented role player like Holiday?” he asks. “Or would the Celtics preserve their depth and instead see what they can get for Brown, their no. 2 star?”

“Rivals have been wondering about his fate from the moment he signed a five-year, $304 million extension in July.”

At least one Western Conference executive thinks a Brown trade for fiscal reasons is realistic. “Can you get 80 percent of Jaylen by keeping Derrick White and replacing Jaylen with a $20 million player instead of a $40 million player?,” they ponder.

“No one is predicting Brown will be moved this summer—particularly with Boston in first place—but the Celtics will eventually have to confront the financial realities of the new CBA. And if they did put Brown on the market? “Jaylen would set the record for the biggest return,” the other Western Conference exec said, adding, “It should be a Durant-type deal”—meaning multiple first-round picks and swaps, plus high-level rotation players.”

“Brown might not have Durant’s résumé, but he’s also eight years younger,” notes Beck.

There has been no test case yet for the limits of the financial hardship the league’s new CBA is going to create for teams like the Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and other such costly rosters.

Will such ball clubs have shorter windows of contention before they tear it down to the studs? Will there be retools as teams dip under the second apron? Or could some other creative response be devised as teams stare down the restrictive measures this new CBA has created?

Whatever happens, it will happen with Boston — and sooner than perhaps many of us want to admit.

Listen to the “Celtics Lab” podcast on:

Apple Podcasts:



[lawrence-auto-related count=1 category=590969556]

Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire