Could this be Jaylen Brown’s final season with the Boston Celtics?
It’s weird to think, seeing as how he’s turning just 23 years old this month. But Brown will hit the market as a restricted free agent next summer if the Celtics don’t extend his rookie contract by the Oct. 21 deadline, leaving open the possibility of him landing elsewhere before the 2020-21 campaign.
NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski broke down Brown’s future earlier this week during an appearance on ESPN, explaining that teams with salary cap space could decide to extend a max offer to the young swingman next offseason, forcing Boston to make a difficult decision on whether to match.
“They’ve got two max salaries on their slot — Gordon Hayward, Kemba Walker. And then Jayson Tatum comes up behind Jaylen Brown,” Wojnarowski said. “Danny Ainge’s history in Boston with rookie extensions: He hasn’t given a rookie extension — negotiated one — since Rajon Rondo in 2009. And so this is a player, Jaylen Brown, who can certainly improve his stock over the season, have the kind of third year that would put him in position with any of those young teams to go out and get an offer sheet, and then force the Celtics to have to match it or let him walk.
“But he’s in a great position because there are gonna be teams next summer who think Boston may not be able to pay four guys max deals: ‘They’re gonna have to make a decision on letting someone go. Let’s throw a max offer sheet at Jaylen Brown and maybe they don’t match it.’ ”
Of course, it’s important to emphasize the Celtics theoretically could match any offer Brown receives in restricted free agency, potentially keeping him in Boston for the foreseeable future. And with the C’s keeping Brown around this offseason despite his inclusion in several trade rumors, it’s fair to wonder whether president of basketball operations Danny Ainge envisions a long-term plan centered around Brown, Tatum and Walker, whom Boston landed this offseason in a sign-and-trade with the New Orleans Hornets on the heels of Kyrie Irving’s departure.
It’s also worth noting Brown, who went through his first three NBA seasons without an agent, reportedly has linked up with Jason Glushon, who also represents Al Horford. So he’ll have an additional sounding board to bounce things off of moving forward.