Following a disappointing Game 7 loss to the Heat on Monday, the Celtics face some significant offseason decisions, writes Sopan Deb of The New York Times. Jaylen Brown‘s contract situation looms largest among those decisions, as his All-NBA berth this spring made him eligible for a super-max extension.
Boston will have to decide whether to put that offer – which could be worth nearly approximately $295MM over five years – on the table for Brown, who will be entering the final year of his current deal in 2023/24. While he didn’t specifically address the financial details of a potential Celtics offer, Brown’s co-star Jayson Tatum said after Monday’s loss that it’s crucial the team locks up Brown beyond next season.
“He’s one of the best players in this league,” Tatum said. “He plays both ends of the ball and still is relatively young. And he’s accomplished a lot so far in his career. So, I think it’s extremely important.”
For his part, Brown wasn’t ready to address his contract situation in the wake of Monday’s loss.
“I don’t even really know how to answer that question right now, to be honest,” Brown said, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “My thought process is take it one day at a time, focus on getting better. Focus on what the future holds and see where we are from there.”
Here’s more on the Celtics after they fell short of their second consecutive NBA Finals appearance:
- Tatum sprained his ankle during the first minute of Game 7 on Monday. Although he remained in the game, Tatum admitted after scoring just 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting that he was “a shell of myself,” per Bontemps. “It was tough to move,” Tatum said. “Just frustrating, it happening on the first play.”
- Game 6 hero Derrick White will undergo an MRI on his left leg, which he injured in the second half of Game 7, writes Bontemps. “I mean, I’ll be fine,” White said. “I’m not too worried about it. But I’ll find out more (on Tuesday).”
- Despite the disappointing end to their season, the Celtics raved on Monday about how the locker room stuck together after the team fell behind 3-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami. As Jay King of The Athletic writes, Brown referred to it as “one of the most together groups that we’ve had,” while head coach Joe Mazzulla said it was “one of the best locker rooms” he has been a part of. “Obviously, we didn’t achieve our goal; we didn’t win, which was our goal,” Mazzulla said. “So, we failed in that regard, but it’s not because the guys didn’t have a sense of togetherness, character and just who they are as people.”
- Robert Williams, who played just 14 minutes in Game 7, was battling an illness on Monday, a league source tells Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Weiss observes within the same story that Malcolm Brogdon was “clearly too injured to play” on Monday after missing Game 6 due to a forearm injury. Brogdon, a minus-15 in just seven minutes in Game 7, confirmed that he has a partially torn tendon in his right elbow and said he’d consider undergoing offseason surgery (Twitter link via Weiss).
- Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) previewed the offseason decisions facing the Celtics, including how to handle Grant Williams‘ impending restricted free agency.