Understanding restricted free agency: Exploring the Celtics’ options with Jaylen Brown

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One of the most complicated parts of the NBA for fans is the ins and outs of team building during the offseason. There are complex rules about what a team can and can’t do with certain players, how much a team can offer a free agent, what happens when a team goes into the luxury tax and much more.

I write a lot about the particulars of these rules, but one of the common requests I’ve received at BSJ is to simplify an explanation of these tricky CBA rules and terms and how they apply to the Celtics. Over the upcoming month, we will take a weekly look at some of the common phrases and rules I used that are involved in the collective bargaining agreement and try to make them easier to understand so it’s easier to break down the options the Celtics or another team has with their players in any offseason. Here's what we've examined thus far:

Understanding trade rules and restrictions: What Celtics can and can't do this season

Understanding Cap Holds: What they mean and how they impact the Celtics' future

Understanding Bird Rights: What they mean and how they impact the Celtics' future

We begin today with another term that will be front and center for the Celtics next offseason: Restricted free agency. We will get into the basics of the term on the NBA and examine what options the Celtics will have with Jaylen Brown who is expected to hit the restricted free agent market next summer. 

What is restricted free agency?

This is the same type of system that takes place in football and hockey. Essentially, it gives the player’s original team the right to keep someone by matching any deal that is signed by them with another team.

Who is eligible to be a restricted free agent?

First-round draft picks are the most common restricted free agents. Following the fourth year of their rookie-scale contracts, they become restricted free agents upon hitting the open market for the first time. Any second-round pick or undrafted free agent who has been in the league three or fewer seasons are also restricted free agents when their contracts expire, as well as players that sign two-way deals.

Do these players automatically become restricted free agents when their initial contracts expire?