While Jaylen Brown and the Celtics have reportedly opened talks on a possible rookie scale extension for the fourth-year swingman, a new deal by the October 21 deadline is considered unlikely. As one Eastern Conference executive pointed out to Frank Urbina of HoopsHype, it’s easy to see why each side may be reluctant to get something done before the summer of 2020, when Brown can become a restricted free agent.
“The Celtics may be thinking that they don’t want to give a max deal to their third-best player, but Jaylen Brown may be thinking that he can be the top free agent next summer if he has a big year,” that executive said. “Brown could play his way into a max contract. He’s going to have a bigger role than ever before with Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Marcus Morris gone, and next summer’s free agent class is weak.”
As Urbina notes, that Eastern executive believes the Celtics should be comfortable at this point going up to about $20MM per year for Brown — or even higher if they feel like he’s in position to potentially secure a maximum-salary offer sheet next July.
“If you want him to be part of your core long-term and want to lock him in, it may make sense to give him more,” the exec said. “Boston may be comfortable saying, ‘We’ll give you something around $25MM [per year] now to sort of get a discount and not pay the max.’ And Brown really could be the top free agent available next summer, so I could see the argument for giving him the max.”
As we wait to see whether Boston can find common ground with the 22-year-old, here’s more from around the Atlantic:
- With Dennis Smith Jr. on the shelf due to a back strain, offseason free agent addition Elfrid Payton may be playing his way into the Knicks‘ starting point guard job, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. No matter who starts, it will be a big year for all three Knicks point guards — Smith will be extension-eligible next summer, Payton has a non-guaranteed 2020/21 salary, and Frank Ntilikina will be eligible for restricted free agency.
- Eric Koreen of The Athletic explores whether the Raptors‘ one-year extension for Kyle Lowry will affect future negotiations with Fred VanVleet, who will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020. As Koreen notes, VanVleet has talked about wanting to be a starter, and there may be teams willing to offer him that role – and pay him like a starter – next summer.
- After signing a three-year extension with the Nets this offseason, Caris LeVert is eager to prove he’s capable of becoming a star, writes Michael Lee of The Athletic. “I’m at the point where now I feel I can control how good I can be,” LeVert said. “I’m going to push myself every single day and see where that ceiling is. I don’t know where it is. I don’t like to put limits on myself.”