Let me begin out by saying this argument isn’t a referendum on Jaylen Brown’s worth as a participant, at the least in a vacuum. He’s a beautiful and deserving All-NBA expertise, however that’s, sadly, solely a chunk of the image. With the brand new collective bargaining settlement and its prohibitive second tax apron looming, the choice whether or not to pay Jaylen Brown a brilliant max, which will begin around $50 million per year and end around $66 million, is far more sophisticated than “is he adequate to deserve it?” Once more, with out context, the reply is objectively sure. All-NBA second teamers are often definitely worth the super-max, however there’s the rub:
The damaging nature of the brand new CBA
Whether or not or not Jaylen is nice sufficient to deserve the supermax isn’t the query. The actual query is whether or not the Celtics giving the supermax to Jaylen is in one of the best curiosity of the franchise given the financial realities of the state of affairs, which brings us again to the brand new CBA.
The brand new CBA has created a punitive second luxurious tax apron that comes with huge penalties for groups that exceed it. The brand new line will probably be $17.5 million over the preliminary luxurious tax line (the primary apron is roughly $6 million or so over the tax line). The Celtics are $24 million over the present tax line, and that’s with Jaylen Brown on his under market deal (he has 1 yr left). In different phrases, if the second apron existed right this moment, the Celtics could be topic to those penalties.
With each Jays on a supermax, these two alone will occupy roughly 70% of the wage cap. The room will get eaten up very, in a short time after that. With a number of gamers locked up between $22 and $11 million,* Suffice to say, it’s a foregone conclusion that the Celtics will exceed the second tax apron in the event that they stick with it their present trajectory.
Why is the second line so punitive? Here are the penalties for exceeding it, which primarily kick in for the first year of Jaylen’s supermax in the 2024-25 season:
- The Celtics can’t take again extra wage than they ship out in a commerce (beforehand you can take again 125% of the wage you had been sending out). This severely limits the power to improve the roster by way of commerce. You primarily have to seek out the proper commerce companion, or one that’s under the second apron and prepared to tackle wage. Getting one other crew to tackle wage often prices belongings.
- They’ll lose the taxpayer mid-level exception. This removes the one mechanism for the Celtics to signal a task participant in free company and so they can solely use minimal contracts to fill out the roster in free company.
- They can’t signal buy-out guys trying to ring chase (as long as their earlier contract is larger than the minimal, which it might be in mainly each situation).
- The Celtics wouldn’t be capable to commerce their first-round decide seven years out (could be the 2030 decide if this went into impact right this moment). This looks as if a minor hurdle, however this mixed with the wage matching restrictions actually reduces their flexibility within the commerce market (particularly for the reason that 2026 decide is already topic to a swap).
- If the Celtics exceed the second apron in two of 4 years, their first-rounder seven years out is moved to the tip of the primary spherical, no matter report. This creates the likelihood the place the Celtics spend now and pay for it dearly later if Tatum had been to go away. It creates huge threat concerning an vital future asset.
- There may be one constructive, the posh tax bands will enhance, which suggests they will spend extra earlier than they enter a better degree of the tax.
So, what does all of this add as much as? Giving Jaylen the supermax will severely restrict what the Celtics can put across the Jays. The $60 million luxurious tax invoice this season was already a report for the Celtics franchise. That invoice will stand to extend to an exorbitant quantity if the Celtics merely retain their present core with out including to it. More likely, the Celtics will probably be trying to shed important wage so as to retain the Jays with out greater than doubling their present tax invoice. That can imply dropping key position gamers on the extent of Derrick White, Grant Williams, and Malcolm Brogdon. And if the Celtics stay above that second apron even after they lose key guys? Effectively, then they don’t have any mechanism to interchange them, even with lesser variations, as a result of they’re so restricted in free company and the commerce market by the brand new CBA.
I do know. It’s not my cash — why do I care? I don’t in a vacuum, however the actuality is that Celtics possession merely won’t pay double and triple their present tax invoice. It’s not viable short-term and never sustainable long-term. In the event that they determine to take action and are prepared to pay report quantities of tax, then please throw this complete factor out and let’s faux I didn’t write it, however I’m not banking on it.
It’s not about whether or not you suppose preserving Jaylen and this whole core intact is smart. It virtually actually does. It’s about whether or not preserving Jaylen on the expense of the core is smart. Is it worthwhile to try to compete with a roster that options two All-NBA wings, two or three good position gamers, and primarily nothing else? I might posit that it doesn’t.
As CelticsBlog’s own Keith Smith succinctly explained: “The brand new CBA is designed to interrupt up groups like Boston and the place they’re headed salary-wise. It’s what it’s.”
Why commerce him now, and what for?
The first causes for buying and selling Jaylen now are two-fold: (1) he’s coming off his finest season ever, so his worth as a participant is extraordinarily excessive; and (2) buying and selling Jaylen is partially a way to regulate the wage invoice and buying and selling him at his present wage quantity means you match wage at that worth (roughly between $28 and $32 million relying on what league yr he’s traded in). Ready till he’s paid the supermax defeats quite a lot of the rationale for buying and selling him. Merely put, if buying and selling Jaylen is within the playing cards, this offseason is the one time that it is smart.
A fast apart: no different crew may give Jaylen the supermax, and he can’t be traded for a yr after he indicators his supermax extension this offseason (another excuse that the commerce will come this offseason, if it does). Once I focus on Jaylen trades under, it will likely be with the understanding that there’s a wink-wink deal between Jaylen and the crew he’s being traded to that he’ll get a standard max contract after the commerce.
With that housekeeping out of the way in which, we’re left with the final word query: what are you able to get that even makes buying and selling Jaylen price it? When evaluating Jaylen trades, listed below are the components I’ll be weighing:
- As a result of that is partially a price financial savings train, I would like the important thing participant(s) in any deal to be locked up past subsequent yr at an inexpensive quantity, or it’s extraordinarily seemingly the participant would re-sign at a quantity that makes preserving the complementary items on the roster doable.
- I would like them to offer issues Jaylen doesn’t. It doesn’t make any sense to commerce Jaylen for a worse model of himself. I’m searching for gamers that do at the least one in every of two issues on offense, ideally each: shoot 3s at an elite degree (standstill and on the transfer) and/or elite degree ballhandling/playmaking.
- I’m additionally capturing for defensive upgrades, which needs to be doable since Jaylen’s protection comes and goes. In different phrases, I would like the brand new gamers to be much less redundant skill-set sensible with Jayson Tatum.
- I would like good position gamers along with a participant that fills 80-90% of Jaylen’s offense. Ideally, a type of position gamers is a middle.
With out additional ado, the trades.
Commerce 1**: Tyus Jones, Luke Kennard, Xavier Tillman, and Desmond Bane for Jaylen Brown
Bane provides you elite capturing and is a greater crew defender whereas offering a good portion of Jaylen’s offensive manufacturing. Jones and Tillman are very stable bench gamers that you would be able to maintain round for affordable contracts (each solely have one yr left). Kennard is generally cap filler, however he’s an okay bench wing and probably the greatest three-point shooters over the previous couple of years.
The draw back with this deal is that Bane solely has yet one more yr on his rookie deal. That’s okay although as a result of the rookie max extension could be considerably lower than Jaylen’s supermax (round $20 million by my tough estimate). As soon as Bane will get costly, Kennard might be dumped for wage financial savings with little or no ache.
Commerce 2: Bogdan Bogdanovic and Dejounte Murray for Jaylen Brown and Payton Pritchard
Once more, a draw back right here is that Dejounte Murray isn’t locked up, and in case you can’t get an inkling as to what he thinks his worth is, that might tank the whole commerce. If he’s searching for one thing across the $30 million a yr AAV vary, then this makes some sense. That might offer you Bogdan Bogdanovic and Murray locked up long-term round $50 million. It may cost you somebody like Brogdon in a wage financial savings transfer down the road, however Bogie and Murray offer you much more ballhandling, and each are regular arms that may generate respectable photographs late in video games. Bogie can be an elite shooter from distance. Murray and Sensible could be an insanely aggressive defensive duo.
Commerce 3: Mikal Bridges and Nic Claxton for Jaylen Brown and a 1st
Mikal Bridges could be the dream. There’s a world the place he’s a extra invaluable participant than Jaylen Brown subsequent season. It very nicely could not occur, however he’s catching up offensively and he’s fairly simply probably the greatest defensive wings within the league. He’s a higher-level shooter than Jaylen, however clearly isn’t the shot creator in isolation that JB is (few are). He’s additionally locked up on an absurdly good contract, simply within the mid-20 tens of millions for the subsequent 4 years. Claxton is a wonderful large whose worth I’m most likely underrating with this commerce (that’s why I threw the first in, however value-wise, I feel you can argue for eradicating it). Regardless, he’s a poor man’s Rob Williams that may simply begin when Rob misses video games. He’ll must be re-signed, however assuming that may get carried out for mid-teens, this commerce accomplishes every thing I’m searching for in a Brown deal.
So, there you’ve gotten it. From an emotional standpoint, I might hate to see Jaylen go, and it’s a disgrace that because the Celtics start to hit the Jays’ primes, this new harmful CBA comes into place. Simply to be clear, I don’t need to commerce Jaylen Brown. I’d like for him to remain and the Jays to win half a dozen championships collectively. Sadly, that doesn’t change the monetary actuality of the state of affairs the Celtics are in. It needs to be a very simple determination to re-sign a participant like Jaylen Brown long-term, however it’s not. Brad Stevens has some inconceivable selections to make this offseason. I don’t envy him.
*All cap and wage figures from spotrac.com
**All commerce photographs from fanspo.com