Jaylen Brown agrees to a Supermax extension with the Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown has made five trips to the Eastern Conference Finals since the Boston Celtics selected him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Two-time All-Star winger Jaylen Brown has agreed to a five-year, $304 million Supermax contract extension with the Boston Celtics, making him the highest-paid player in NBA history, his agent Jason Glushon of Glushon Sports Management has confirmed to Yahoo Sports. ESPN’s Mark J. Spears first reported the deal.

The contract is fully guaranteed. No player option for the final year of the Browns deal in 2028-29. The contract includes a trade kicker that would increase Brown’s salary even more if he was ever dealt with.

The 26-year-old averaged 26.6 points per game (49/34/77 shooting splits), 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 35.9 minutes a game this past season, helping Boston to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics have reached the Conference Finals in five of Brown’s seven seasons, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2022, when they lost to the four-time champion Golden State Warriors in a six-game series.

The richest contract in league history is a matter of brilliant timing on the Browns’ part. He was the only member of the 2016 draft class to earn All-NBA honors with a year remaining on his current deal, which qualified him for a supermax extension this summer. Brown will earn $28.5 million before his extension begins in 2024.

The Browns were reluctant to discuss his future in Boston this past season, understandably upset after season-ending losses to the Miami Heat and Tell The Ringer’s Logan Murdock Earlier this year, he said, “I don’t really know or want to answer that question because that kind of thing makes Celtics fans speculate and go crazy.”

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However, turning down a guaranteed $304 million when the alternative in 2024 is $100 million less is a no-brainer. Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens confirmed this at a press conference at the end of the season, telling reporters, “I’m not allowed to talk about the details of the contract, let alone an extension… But I can say without a doubt that we want Jaylen to be here. He’s a big part of us.”

Browns teammate Jason Tatum will become the highest-paid player in the league next summer, when he becomes eligible for a $300 million SuperMax extension. There’s a lot of debate about whether paying Brown plus Tatum is Boston’s best path to a championship, especially in light of a new collective bargaining agreement that severely restricts high-priced teams from building rosters.

Brown has struggled at times in the playoffs, particularly as a playmaker and especially in this year’s Conference Finals, shooting 16.3% on six 3-point attempts per game and notching a greater total (25) in assists (24). Some of his production decline can be attributed to a tear in his shooting hand that reopened repeatedly during the playoffs, but he also struggled to contain his ball handling in the 2022 Finals loss.

However, Brown turns 27 in October, and Tatum didn’t turn 26 until March. They’ve finished no worse than the Conference Finals every year, and have been healthy in the playoffs since 2020. (Browns missed the 2021 playoffs with a torn ligament in his left wrist, and the Celtics lost in the opening round.) It was four minutes and an all-time breakout from Stephen Curry — the greatest player in sports history — away from a 3-1 lead.

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Not only is it possible for the Celtics to win with Tatum and Brown as higher-paid players, it has been proven. The alternative is the Browns buying players who almost certainly won’t come close to a title. Tatum and Brown have to continue their upward trajectory in the early years that still lie ahead.

He is also in the front office for Boston to build a more cohesive team around them. Stevens began the job once the season ended in disappointment, smartly adding veteran assistants Sam Cassel and Charles Lee to rookie head coach Joe Mazzola’s staff and boldly trading 2022 Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart for 2018 All-Star Kristaps Porzingis and several draft picks, including rookie Jordan Walsh.

Before free agency even began, the Celtics boasted deep rotations and The best odds for the BetMGM title in the East. It’s very hard to argue against pushing Brown when he’s on edge at 26 years old.

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