It’s far too early for us to be concerning ourselves with Jayson Tatum’s free agency plans, after all, he has another three years on his current deal with the Boston Celtics, with the option of a fourth.
However, should Tatum repeat his exceptional form in the upcoming season, and once again be named to an All-NBA team, he will become eligible for a supermax contract once his current deal expires.
In a recent article for ESPN, salary cap expert Bobby Marks explained the details of how Tatum can unlock his incredible earning potential, and when he would be eligible to sign the mammoth contract.
“The Celtics, Jayson Tatum earned All-NBA honors in 2021-22 and will become supermax eligible if he earns All-NBA once again in 2022-23. However, Tatum would have to wait until the 2024 offseason to sign a five-year, $298 million extension. He is ineligible next offseason because he is one year short of the years of service criteria,” Marks wrote on August 4.
More encouragingly for Celtics fans, assuming Tatum does become supermax eligible, it would almost certainly mean the St. Louis native would be remaining in Boston long-term, as they could offer him the most money and most years during contract negotiation. However, Tatum has been here before, missing out on a bonus in his current contract after failing to make the 2020-21 All-NBA team – hopefully, this spurs him on to not miss out on even more money this time around.
Jaylen Brown Also Chasing a Supermax
A lot has been said about Jaylen Brown’s future with the Celtics – especially if he’s still on the roster after his current contract expires in two years. There are concerns that Boston’s continued attempts to trade Brown for a superstar could have damaged the relationship between the organization and the player.
However, winning is always a cure for a disjointed relationship, as is being in a position to provide the player with the most money – two things the Celtics are in a prime position to offer Brown, both now and in two years’ time. Interestingly, should Brown achieve an All-NBA selection between now and the end of his current contract, he too would become supermax eligible.
“Brown is in a unique situation. Starting on Oct. 1 and up until the last day prior to the start of the regular season, he is eligible to sign a three-year, $119.5 million extension. However, that is $123 million less than what he could earn on a five-year deal with the Celtics by waiting to become a free agent in 2024 — and $63 million less than what he’d get on a four-year deal with another team…If he did sign an extension this offseason — or he was traded to another team before the end of the year — Brown would no longer be supermax eligible, even if he achieved All-NBA status this season,” Marks wrote in his article.
It’s worth noting that during his six years in the NBA, Brown has been named to an All-Star team just once – so his chances of taking a big enough leap to break into the All-NBA conversation do look relatively slim, but not impossible.
Eastern Conference GM Urges Brown to be Patient
It’s true, that Boston has floated Brown in multiple trade packages over the years, but they have always opted to stand pat and continue developing their star pairing of him and Tatum.
And with Brown positioned to earn more money with the Celtics than any other franchise once his current deal expires, it makes little sense for him to covet a move – especially after the Celtics’ recent NBA Finals run. And according to an Eastern Conference GM, that spoke to Heavy.com under the condition of anonymity, Brown would be best served by remaining patient in Boston, even if it’s just to earn more money elsewhere further down the line.
“The smart play for him, really, would be to sign a one-year extension and be a free agent in 2025, when the new TV deal hits. He would be lined up with Tatum at that point and they could hit free agency together if Tatum is not extended. There probably will be some smoothing with the new TV deal this time, but there is going to be a spike any way you look at it — he will have some options to go elsewhere then, and he will have more money on the table even if he stays in Boston,” The GM told Heavy’s, Sean Deveney.
With two years until Brown has to make a decision on where he will be playing his basketball, there is every chance for the Celtics organization to mend fences and convince the Georgia native his best chance of success is by remaining in Boston with Jayson Tatum.