As the Toronto Raptors try to figure out how to solve the Pascal Siakam conundrum and try their best to turn Scottie Barnes into a two-way star, the Boston Celtics are trying to cement themselves as a no-doubt championship contender based around the two-headed monster of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
With the latter of the two seeking a new contract, the practicality of handing out such a deal was called into question. On the one hand, Brown is an ascending two-way scorer who is coming into his own as a star in this league. On the other, his postseason play left a lot to be desired.
Concerns over his playoff performances did not stop Brad Stevens and the Celtics from handing Brown the richest contract in NBA history after an offseason of trade rumors, signing him to a five-year supermax extension with $304 million in fully guaranteed money. If your jaw did not hit the floor when reading those numbers, check your pulse.
Like many of the other teams in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, the Raptors will benefit significantly from this overpay if Brown’s play stagnates and he cannot live up to the hype.
Toronto Raptors fans should rejoice after Jaylen Brown signs supermax
The Celtics committed themselves to the Tatum-Brown tandem long-term despite the fact that such a pairing has proven unable to get them over the championship hump. The inability of said duo to take home the crown can often be laid at the feet of Brown more than Tatum.
While Tatum has generally lived up to billing, Brown has seen his scoring dip in the postseason in each of the last two campaigns. He ended 2023 with an absolute stinker of a series against a Heat team that Boston was expected to crush. That’s worth over $60 million per season?
The Raptors won’t be at Boston’s level this season or the next, but the back half of Brown’s contract could get very dicey. Not only could Toronto emerge with a younger, cheaper core that can overtake their New England-based rivals, but they will deal with a thin Celtics roster weighed down by a potential albatross contract.
Unless Brown suddenly becomes Larry Bird, it will be hard for anyone outside of Massachusetts to justify spending close to $70 million for the former No. 3 pick’s age-33 season. The Raptors, meanwhile, could see Boston crippled by their inability to build a team around such an immovable piece of their cap.