Celtics face ‘meaningful’ roster decision in offseason
“When you’re looking at making a $600 million investment in a duo, that’s not necessarily a rubber stamp at this point.”
The odds aren’t exactly on the side of the Boston Celtics at this point in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Boston currently trails the Miami Heat 0-3 in the best-of-seven series. Prior to the Celtics, there were 149 teams in NBA history facing a 0-3 playoff deficit. All 149 teams lost their respective series.
The first order of business for Brad Stevens and the Boston front office this offseason could involve the future of Joe Mazzulla. But Boston’s roster likely won’t be spared a potential overhaul.
ESPN insider Brian Windhorst addressed the issues Stevens and the Celtics face this summer Monday morning.
“They have to make a pretty big decision with Jaylen Brown this summer,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “He’s now eligible for a contract extension of over $280 million. He won’t really know the total number until the salary cap is announced, but it’s going to be a huge, huge number. And Jayson Tatum is also qualified, although he cannot sign him this year; he is expected to sign him next year.
“Here’s the thing: I absolutely think the Celtics should keep these guys together. But when you’re looking at making a $600 million investment in a duo, it’s not necessarily an automatic buffer at this point, [with] how this season ended and how last season ended. And you have to make a decision if you’re the Celtics: is it a really good couple or is it a great couple?”
The duo of Brown and Tatum achieved great success together in Boston, culminating in the Celtics’ run to the NBA Finals last year.
If the Celtics were to hand out heavy new contracts to Brown and Tatum over the next two summers, Boston’s core will arguably be one of the best in the NBA. Having two All-NBA players as your headliners gives you a pretty solid base to retool and modernize your roster in the years to come.
But Brown and Tatum’s eligibility for supermax contracts has the potential to be a double-edged sword for Boston.
Even though the Celtics now have the fiscal flexibility to offer both players more money and tenure than other franchises, allocating nearly $600 million to the pair could hamper the team’s ability to build a cast of solid support around them in the future.
For Boston, it could come down to whether or not Stevens and Co. believes the Celtics can win a title with Tatum and Brown as their best options on the court.
“I don’t know if we can invest 600 million in ‘very good’. Jaylen Brown is very, very sought after in the market so I think that makes everything re-evaluated by the Celtics,” Windhorst added. “I’m still of the opinion that we get to July (and) Jaylen Brown is going to get that offer. But man, it’s really hard to think that just going back is the thing for Boston at this point. .
Tatum and Brown both struggled in Sunday’s blowout Game 3 loss to the Heat, combining for just 26 points and sinking one of 14 attempts from beyond the arc.
Brown in particular had a forgettable streak against the Heat. In three games, Brown averaged just 16.7 points per game, nearly 10 points shy of his regular-season point average (26.6).
Brown’s inefficiency and mistakes further thwarted Boston’s ability to keep up with the Heat. The 26-year-old winger is shooting just 37.7% from the field, including 10% from 3 points.
Any roster anchored by both Tatum and Brown should be a playoff lock for the next decade. But is that core good enough to elevate the Celtics to consistent title contenders?
Stevens will have to make that decision over the next few months.
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