According to an Eastern Conference executive who spoke with Heavy’s Sean Deveney, Celtics small forward Jaylen Brown could sign with the Lakers in the summer of 2024 “because he’d want to play with LeBron.” The one-time All-Star becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2024 under his current contract.
“Obviously, a star comes up when the Lakers have cap space and there is going to be that speculation,” the executive told Deveney. “There are players who want to play for the Lakers because they’re the Lakers and they’re in L.A., but I don’t think Brown is an L.A. guy that way. It’s more just because he’d want to play with LeBron, if LeBron was going to stay there, if Davis stays healthy, if they are back to competing in the West and not just trying to make a play-in. That’s the lure for anyone in that free-agent class.”
Brown signed a four-year, $106.3 million rookie contract extension with the Celtics in October 2019. The swingman is eligible to sign an extension with Boston starting on October 1st.
However, according to Deveney, that’s unlikely to happen.
Brown Probably Won’t Sign Extension with Celtics
Brown would be leaving money on the table if he signed an extension with the Celtics now. The 25-year-old, who averaged 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season, would make more money annually if he waited.
“The Celtics would like to secure his services by giving him a contract extension this offseason, but the problem is, that’s unlikely to happen. Under league rules, the Celtics are capped at what they can offer Brown via an extension, a deal beginning at $34.2 million in 2024-25,” Deveney wrote on August 29th. “If Brown waits and signs a max deal that summer, though, he will get a contract starting at 30% of the total salary cap. Should the cap land around $140 million as most expect, that puts Brown’s annual salary starting at $42 million (more if he makes one more All-NBA team). It behooves Brown to wait.”
The Lakers will have the cap space needed to sign a player of Brown’s caliber in the summer of 2024. James and Anthony Davis are the only players under contract for the 2024-25 season.
James & Davis Could Allow Lakers to Sign Brown First, Then Re-Sign
Deveney believes James and Davis could allow Los Angeles to sign Brown first and then “re-up with the Lakers thereafter.” James has a player option for the 2024-25 season, while Davis has an early termination option.
“The Lakers will be in an odd position in 2024, still sitting on the Bird rights of both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but this time they will do so with both guys looking at advancing age, unknown futures and upcoming player options. However unlikely, it’s at least theoretically possible that the Lakers could go into the summer of 2024 without a single contract on the books,” Deveney wrote. “Either way, they should have money to spend. James and Davis could allow the Lakers to first sign Brown, then re-up with the Lakers thereafter.”
Brown has career averages of 16.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists with the Celtics. He helped Boston reach the 2022 Finals, where the club lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games. Brown’s name was brought up in Kevin Durant trade rumors, but the Celtics and Brooklyn Nets never made a deal.