Celtics forward Jaylen Brown is eligible to receive a five-year, $295 million super-max extension this summer after earning second-team All-NBA recognition. President of basketball operations Brad Stevens said Thursday he was unable to discuss Brown’s contract situation yet, but he did offer some praise.
“I can say, without a doubt, like, we want Jaylen to be here,” Stevens said. “And he’s a big part of us and we believe in him and I’m thankful for him. And I’m really thankful for when those guys have success, they come back to work. And when they get beat, they own it, and they come back to work.
“So I know that that’s what they’re about. And that’s hard to find, kind of like when I talked about leadership earlier. Those qualities aren’t for everybody. So Jaylen had a great year, All-NBA year. He’s a big part of us moving forward in our eyes.
This season, Brown averaged 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists and was named an All-Star for the second time. His last game was forgettable, however, as he went 8 for 23 from the field with a career-high 8 turnovers in the Game 7 loss to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals Monday.
No word on Williams
Stevens was similarly mum on Grant Williams’s status as a restricted free agent. Williams and the Celtics were unable to agree on a contract extension last fall, when he was seeking a deal worth approximately $54 million over four years.
Williams, who made 39.5 percent of his 3-point attempts this year, fell out of coach Joe Mazzulla’s rotation for much of the playoffs. As he is a restricted free agent, the Celtics will have the ability to match any offer sheet he signs with another team.
“Everybody around the league knows that Grant can add value to a winning team,” Stevens said. “We know that.
“We’re big fans of his, and I thought when he played, he did a lot of good things when he got the opportunity. But I don’t think it was an easy roster to always decide who would play, because we did have a lot of good players.”
Forward Danilo Gallinari missed the season after tearing an ACL, and center Robert Williams was sidelined for the first 29 games following offseason knee surgery, but the Celtics generally navigated the season in good health until the very end.
Guard Malcolm Brogdon was dealing with a forearm strain during the conference finals, and in Game 7 against the Heat, Jayson Tatum sprained his left ankle and Derrick White suffered a knee injury.
On Thursday, Stevens said the Celtics and Brogdon are in the process of determining whether he will need offseason surgery. He added that Tatum is feeling better but has “a pretty decent ankle sprain.” He said White has a mild knee sprain caused by a hyperextension.
Third-year guard Payton Pritchard was out of the rotation for most of this season. He voiced his frustrations in February, when he made it clear that he wanted to be traded before the deadline.
Stevens said the Celtics stressed to Pritchard throughout the year how much they value him; he was just a victim of the team’s depth. Pritchard is under contract for next season, and roster shifts this summer could create new opportunities.
“We don’t know how that’s all going to shake itself out moving forward,” Stevens said. “And so, I’m a big Payton fan, I believe in him. And everybody here does, and we’ll see how everything shakes itself out.”