The two-time All-Star averaged career highs of 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season. But those numbers went down in the playoffs, when the Celtics lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals; in Game 7 Brown had 19 points on eight of 23 shooting, making just one of nine three-point attempts. By virtue of making the All-NBA second team – his first such honor in his career – he was eligible for the supermax extension.
The Celtics picked Brown with the third overall selection in the 2016 draft. They have made the playoffs every season since, although he is not widely considered a Top 10 player in the league. Indeed, most observers do not even think Brown is the best player at the Celtics; most would give that honor to Jayson Tatum, who is a four-time All-Star and was named to the NBA first-team this year. Tatum will be eligible for a supermax extension next year.
Brown may have the most expensive contract in NBA history for now, but that status never lasts long. With a new TV deal looming and revenue at an all-time high, the cap is expected to jump 10% annually for the foreseeable future. Max contracts are tied to the cap, with the highest starting salary possible for most players being 35% of the cap. Brown’s teammate, Jayson Tatum, will be eligible for a similar contract next offseason that will eclipse this one.
The league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement brought more limitations on how teams construct their rosters and additional luxury tax penalties. However, making a commitment to Brown was important for the the Celtics.
“I’ve had nothing but great conversations with Jaylen,” team president of basketball operations Brad Stevens said in June. “I can say, without a doubt, we want Jaylen to be here. He’s a big part of us. We believe in him and I’m thankful for him. … I’m really thankful that when those guys have success they come back to work. And when they get beat, they own it and they come back to work. And so I know that’s what they’re about. And that’s hard to find.”
The Celtics have been busy in the offseason. They began their summer by trading away popular guard and former Kia Defensive Player of the Year winner Marcus Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team deal that brought former All-Star Kristaps Porzingis to Boston. They also dealt defensive-minded forward Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavericks in a sign-and-trade deal that landed the Celtics three future second-round picks.
While Brown was stellar in the regular season, his stats dipped in the playoffs. Although he got off to a strong start in the first round, averaging 26.7 ppg on 54.1% shooting against the Atlanta Hawks, his performance wasn’t as strong in the East semifinals vs. the Philadelphia 76ers and he struggled in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.
With fellow star Jayson Tatum reeling from an ankle sprain he sustained early in Game 7 of the East Finals, Brown had a disastrous night. He scored 19 points but shot just 8 -of-23 from the field with eight turnovers.
Tatum and Brown combined for 56.7 points per game last season, the fourth-most by a duo since the 1976-77 merger, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. They both also scored 30 points in 10 games, a feat only Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant have accomplished in the past 30 seasons. Brown progressed as a shot creator last season with 54% of his made shots unassisted a career-high 1.15 points per direct drive, according to Second Spectrum.
The Celtics have made the playoffs in each of Brown’s seven NBA seasons, including the NBA Finals in 2022 and three Eastern Conference finals trips. Boston drafted the former UC-Berkeley star with the third overall pick in 2016.
Off the court, Brown is a businessman, fashion aficionado and mentor for countless kids, as well as a philanthropist in Boston and internationally. He currently serves as vice president of the National Basketball Players Association.
The Atlanta native recently attended Paris Fashion Week and spoke at Variety’s Sports and Entertainment Summit about off-court success. He has been generating partnerships that build bridges to enable youth of color access to equal education and leadership opportunities through his juice Foundation.
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