Jaylen Brown’s Record Deal Is Good for the Boston Celtics, Bad for NBA Fans
At some point, the bubble has to burst, right? How high can these NBA salaries go?
On Tuesday, the Boston Celtics and Jaylen Brown agreed to a five-year supermax deal worth $304 million that will keep Brown in green until his early 30s. The move keeps Brown paired with Jayson Tatum, arguably the NBA’s top duo. It solidifies the Celtics as an NBA contender but sets a bad precedent for future NBA deals that will have fans paying the price.
Jaylen Brown agrees to the richest deal in NBA history
After a lengthy wait, Brown and the Boston Celtics agreed to the record-setting deal that most felt was inevitable. On Tuesday, it was announced that the two sides agreed to the big move that keeps Brown under contract through the 2028-29 season.
The deal is costly for the Celtics, but it keeps the Brown-Tatum tandem intact. Together, they’ve reached the conference finals four times. They also played in the 2021 NBA Finals, falling to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
While the Celtics should be a player in the Eastern Conference for the next several years, the Brown deal is expected to push NBA salaries even farther into orbit.
Brown will now be paid as the best player in the NBA, and he isn’t even the best player on his team. He became eligible for a supermax deal after earning All-NBA honors last year. He posted career-highs in scoring (26.6 points) and rebounds (6.9). In the final year of his deal, Brown will make $69.1 million, according to ESPN.
How high will the salaries go?
The good news for the Celtics is the move should pay some dividends in the short term. By signing Brown, they’re all-in to win right now. The bad news is Tatum is eligible for a supermax extension next summer. That means the Celtics will likely have to commit roughly $700 million to two players for the next half-decade.
Brown isn’t even a top-10 player in the NBA. If he’s the top dog in money terms today, what’s going to happen in the next few years? If Brown is going to make nearly $70 million in a season when he’s 31, does Tatum crack $100 million in a season?
And Tatum isn’t the best player in the league. What happens to Giannis Antetokounmpo or Nikola Jokic? Can small-market teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and the Denver Nuggets afford to jack up their season-ticket prices to keep a star in town?
Brown’s salary is ludicrous. He’s won nothing in the league and doesn’t have the greatest reputation for coming up big in the clutch.
The league appears to be thriving. Arenas are (mostly) full. TV deals are strong. But how long does this last? When will fans claim enough is enough as their season-ticket bill continues to rise? It won’t be long before Brown’s $304 million deal becomes just another contract in the NBA, and that won’t bode well for the fans, who will ultimately be the ones paying the price.