The Celtics had the chance to become the first NBA team to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win the series, but Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for only 33 points in Game 7. Brown is eligible to sign a five-year supermax extension this summer after being named to the All-NBA Second Team, however, the question of whether he’s worth that much or not has been discussed since Boston’s season came to an end.
Brown is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. It was assumed that if he were to be supermax eligible, he’d remain with the Celtics. It’d be hard to turn down that much money, though. That won’t matter if the Celtics don’t offer him the supermax, which is where the New York Knicks come in.
If the 26-year-old were to be traded this summer, the Knicks would emerge as a landing spot. Not only should New York be wary about how Brown performed in the playoffs, but also of his looming free agency. Whichever team pursues the guard if he is made available is going to be taking a risk for more than one reason.
New York fans that have been high on Brown may not feel the same way that they once did, especially after watching him fall flat against Miami.
Should New York Knicks pursue Jaylen Brown if Celtics make him available?
The Heat are the second No. 8 team in the history of the NBA (shoutout to the 1998-99 Knicks!) to make it to the NBA Finals. Jimmy Butler transforms into Playoff Jimmy in the postseason and Erik Spoelstra’s wisdom is put on display. Spoelstra outcoached Mike Budenholzer in the first round, Tom Thibodeau in the second, and then rookie head coach Joe Mazzulla in the Eastern Conference Finals.
A tactic as simple as forcing Jaylen Brown to go left worked magnificently for Caleb Martin and the Heat. Brown wasn’t able to recover. In Game 7, he recorded eight turnovers, becoming the fifth player to do so in a Game 7. Five of his eight turnovers were dribble turnovers, which happened because Miami made him uncomfortable.
Brown’s collapse doesn’t mean that he’s a bad player by any means. If the Celtics show a willingness to engage in trade talks involving Brown, there will be several teams that will express interest. He’s coming off a regular season where he averaged a career-high 26.6 points, a career-high 6.9 rebounds, and a career-high 3.5 assists in 67 games. Of course, the regular season doesn’t matter in the playoffs (just ask the Heat), but it’s not as if Brown has suddenly transformed into a poor player.
Under Leon Rose’s leadership, the Knicks have been patient when it comes to going after a star. Donovan Mitchell ended up in Cleveland, not New York. When it comes to Jaylen Brown, the Knicks aren’t going to hastily give the Celtics what it is that they would want for him. The front office has shown that they’re smarter than that.