Jaylen Brown’s upcoming contract negotiations will be a recurring storyline all year. Luckily for the Boston Celtics they recently went through a similar one with another key member of their young core: Marcus Smart.
(Now you get the pun in the title of the article. It’s okay if you didn’t get it right away.)
The year prior to Marcus Smart’s restricted free agency went somewhat similar. Smart was looking for a nice new payday, but Danny Ainge wanted to wait-and-see. Maybe Smart’s three-point percentage would skyrocket. Maybe he would become a better pick-and-roll ball-handler.
However, those are “maybe’s”. And I think it’s wise to make a player earn it. I know you have to project and maybe overpay early to receive some benefits late (hello Steph Curry’s first contract extension). But in Smart’s case one could bank on him NOT evolving dramatically in one offseason. And if you’re lucky no clear market really develops for said player and you can retain him/her on a much more team-friendly deal.
“I think the Smart example is a good one because it shows why the Celtics take this approach,” said Sean Deveney. “[Smart] wanted a lot…it was much closer to where Celtics had him than Marcus had him.”
Unfortunately there’s some trouble with applying this type of thinking to Jaylen Brown. If you skim the free agent pool this offseason you’re not going to find a lot of high end guys. For someone like Jaylen, who’s “leap” might be coming in the next season or two, it only takes one team to blow up Ainge’s plan. Someone with a lot of cap space next year – Deveney suggests Cleveland – could throw a monster deal at the Celtics young wing and take Boston completely out of the equation.
That was just one of the big topics on Celtics Beat this week. Sean Deveney and host Adam Kaufman also close the book on Kyrie and ponder over Gordon Hayward’s upcoming season as well.
Make sure you subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher! And make sure you follow Adam on Twitter here!
2:53 Closure on Kyrie
30:31 How to approach Jaylen’s next contract
41:48 Is Hayward’s year solely based on confidence?
46:27 Year 3 NEEDS to be a big year for Tatum