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Celtics #1 decision: Joe Mazzulla - #2 decision: Jaylen Brown

 Thye Boston Celtics are out of the 2023 post-season, outsted by the Miami Heat in seven games. Time to (re)construct the 2023-24 unit.

Expect present coach Joe Mazzulla to remain in place. To the best of my knowledge, the specifics on his contract have not been made known, but it is doubtful that The Green would move on to their fourth head coach in four years.

And despite Mazzulla's penchant for the 3-pointer, which according to analyst Charles Barkley (and others), was their undoing versus the Miami Heat, Joe has shown enough to warrant another shot in 2023-24. Hopefully, he can make changes to strategies that failed in the playoffs.

Jaylen Brown is another matter. His skills are undeniable, but many have criticized his devotion to remaining with his present team. He had openly campaigned for the hiring of a black coach, and that happened when Ime Udoka was hired. 

But Jaylen has also been open about feeling the suspension, and firing, of Udoka was an overreaction on the part of Celtics management. On the money side, both Brown and Jayson Tatum are eligible for a supermax contract - Brown's going into effect in 2024-25 - and Tatum's in 2025-26. 

It comes down to simple math. Jaylen's supermax extention would net $295 million over five years - or an average of $59 million per year. Jayson's haul would be $318 million - or $64 million per year. That's an average of $123 million per year for the Jay Team duo alone - when the NBA salary cap will be around $134 million.

The question is: Can the Celtics, or any other team, afford to have two supermax players on board. My answer, at least for Boston, is "No". Brad Stevens can not risk letting Brown leave in free agency without any return. Tatum is a keeper. Brown? Not so sure. 

The Portland Trailblazers have cap space and the third pick in the upcoming draft. That is only one-of-many scenarios that we may read about regarding a potential landing spot for Boston's All-NBA shooting guard/small forward. Gonna be a Hell of an off-season.


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