Brad Stevens couldn’t discuss the specifics of Jaylen Brown’s future with the Celtics, but he made it clear the organization thinks extremely highly of both the player and the person.
“I can say, without a doubt, we want Jaylen to be here,” Stevens, the team’s president of basketball operations, told reporters Thursday afternoon. “He’s a big part of us. We believe in him, and I’m thankful for him.”
Following Brown’s All-NBA second-team season, the Celtics can now offer him a five-year, $295 million supermax contract.
"I'm not allowed to talk about the contract details, let alone the extension... but I can say without a doubt we want Jaylen to be here."— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) June 1, 2023
Brad Stevens on Jaylen Brown's contract extension pic.twitter.com/skLAyXEoAZ
Brown, 26, was brilliant at times and struggled immensely in others this year. He averaged 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and shot 49.1 percent from the floor (all career-highs) in the regular season.
He was productive overall against the Hawks and 76ers despite inevitable some ups and downs. Against the Heat, his numbers dipped considerably, as he shot 16.3 percent from 3 in the series and turned it over eight times in Game 7.
There will continue to be much debate in the coming weeks about whether or not Brown can be the No. 2 option on a championship team. Stevens didn’t address that specifically, but he praised Brown and said they’ve had “nothing but great conversations.”
“I’m really thankful for when those guys have success, they come back to work,” Stevens told reporters. “When they get beat, they own it, and they come back to work. I know that that’s what they’re about, and that’s hard to find.”
After Game 7 against the Heat, Jayson Tatum said it’s “extremely important” for the Celtics to keep Brown.
“He’s one of the best players in this league,” Tatum told reporters. “Plays both ends of the ball and is still relatively young. He’s accomplished a lot so far in his career.”
As for Grant Williams, Stevens reiterated that he adds value to a winning team and that the Celtics are big fans of his.
He noted that Robert Williams is a huge part of the Celtics’ opportunity to be great and that he gives the team a different dynamic with his ability to play way above the rim.
Payton Pritchard is “obsessed” with basketball in Stevens’ eyes, and he feels for him that he couldn’t get on the court as much as he would have liked.
"It's not far... we just got to figure out how to get a little bit better."— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) June 1, 2023
Brad Stevens on whether or not this Celtics team matched the vision for what he wanted this season pic.twitter.com/57itY6CRWV
Stevens also noted that Tatum has a “pretty decent ankle sprain” and Derrick White had a hyper extension and “small sprain” during Game 7. Malcolm Brogdon may or may not require surgery on his right forearm.
When looking at the franchise as a whole, Stevens said the ultimate goal was not attained but that it’s not far. He said he loves the team’s foundation and core. The Celtics simply have to improve, individually and collectively, to get over the hump.
“I have no doubt within the character of our group that they’ll do that,” Stevens said. “That’s what these guys have always been about.”