The Celtics are big believers in Jaylen Brown and they proved as much on Monday afternoon after agreeing to a four-year contract worth up to $115 million when you include incentives. The deal will not go into effect until next season, so we will start there in gauging what exactly this deal means for the C’s future in both the short and long-term.
How much will Brown earn?
Brown is guaranteed $103 million over the course of four years in the deal, with $12 million in added incentives, that are broken down like this:
Yahoo Sources: On Jaylen Brown’s four-year extension, he can secure $8M in incentives if he wins MVP, DPOY or makes one of three All-NBA Teams. He pockets $4M if plays 65 or more games, team wins 49 or more games and reaches second round of playoffs. Total guaranteed salary $103M
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 21, 2019
For now, the likely incentives are what matters when it comes to C’s salary cap management. Likely incentives count against the cap in the same way guaranteed salary does so we can label this deal a four-year, $107 million contract for accounting purposes. That breaks down to an average annual value of $26.75 million per year of the deal.
What is the C’s salary obligation for 2020-21 now?
They are suddenly quite extensive in the wake of Brown’s new deal. Here’s a look at the current deals on the books, along with cap and luxury tax numbers.
Under contract for 2020-21
Kemba Walker ($34.3 million)
Gordon Hayward ($34.1 million - player option)
Jaylen Brown ($26.75 million - estimate)
Marcus Smart ($13.4 million)
Jayson Tatum ($9.8 million once team option is picked up in October)
Daniel Theis ($5 million - team option)
Enes Kanter ($5 million - player option)
Romeo Langford ($3.6 million)
Vincent Poirier ($2.6 million)
Grant Williams ($2.5 million)
Robert Williams ($2.0 million once team option is picked up in October)
Semi Ojeleye ($1.8 million non-guaranteed)
Carsen Edwards ($1.5 million)
Guaranteed money committed if Hayward opts out: $99.55 million to ten players
Guaranteed money committed if Hayward opts in: $133.65 million to 11 players
Guaranteed money committed if Hayward and Kanter opts in: $138.65 million to 12 players
Projected salary cap for 2020-21: $116 million
Projected luxury tax for 2020-21: $141 million
Is there any way the Celtics will have cap room next summer?
It was already highly unlikely and this new contract for Brown essentially guarantees they won't. The only plausible scenario involves Gordon Hayward opting out of his $34.1 million player option next summer and that won’t happen unless he has an All-Star level season this year or if the C’s and him agree on a longer-term deal for less money next summer.
Even without Hayward on the books, the C’s will still have nearly $100 million to 10 players already and that doesn’t include options for Kanter ($5 million) and Theis ($5 million). Factor in a few million dollars for first round draft slots and there simply won’t be any meaningful cap room (above $10 million for this team next year) even if Hayward departs. This fact and a 2020 weak free agent class likely gave Boston's front office more incentive than usual to get a deal done since there was no real risk of missing out on something next summer anyway by playing hardball.
Can the Celtics still offer a Jayson Tatum extension next summer?
Yes, Brown’s deal has no impact on their ability to pay Tatum an extension. He will be eligible to sign one after July 1st and Boston can offer him up to 30 percent of the salary cap over five years. It will result in a big luxury tax bill down the line (after 2021) but the C's spending on him is in no way limited by this deal.
What does Brown’s deal mean for the future of Hayward with the team?