Andrew Sharp: Moving on here. Sean Devaney, Boston reporter, says sources say that chances are “pretty slim” on an extension between the Celtics and Jaylen Brown. So quickly here, Ben. I’m curious, would you give a max extension to Jaylen Brown, Pascal Siakam or Brandon Ingram? The deadline for those deals to be signed is Oct. 21, I believe. So what do you think of those two situations?
Ben Golliver: I would give one to Pascal. I would probably not but think pretty hard about giving one to Ingram. I would definitely want to talk to his camp and see how invested is he in the idea of playing with Zion long term. Is he going to be a piece that wants to stay? I would really want to feel him out before getting ready to put up that money. And with Jaylen, I wouldn’t. The Jaylen situation is interesting.
It reminds me a lot of history repeating itself with the Jimmy Butler situation five years ago. Remember when Jimmy was coming up for his extension, the Bulls didn’t give it to him and he was coming off his season where he averaged 13, four and two. Jaylen is coming off a season where he averaged 13, four and one. Kinda similar players where they’re kinda known more for their defense early on in their careers. Their energy. They project as very high level, potentially all-defense type guys going forward. But the questions were on offense.
For Jimmy, his mantra was “bet on myself” and he basically doubled the value from the offer that Chicago made early to the one that he ended up getting by breaking through as this dynamic, all-around scoring threat. And I think the question with Jaylen is just, does he have that in him? If he’s going to take this “bet on myself” approach, if he doesn’t have extra layers to his offensive game—and frankly I haven’t even seen them.
I haven’t even seen him want those kinds of things, necessarily in terms of ballhandling, orchestration, creating off the dribble, that kind of stuff. Then I don’t ever see that kind of max money necessarily being there for him. Now it could be one of those situations where there’s just one team that falls in love with him and he gets a big deal in free agency. But if I was the Celtics, I would say “Go ahead and bet on yourself.” We’re not just going to throw crazy money on you. Go out there and prove it this season.
Sharp: Yeah, that’s the thing. He’s definitely going to get a max offer next summer …
Golliver: Are you sure?
Sharp: Well, I mean if you’re a team like the Atlanta Hawks and you can look at the next few years and be like alright, we’re not going to sign a max free agent. We’re not going to sign Giannis. We’re not going to sign Kevin Durant or that tier of player. Giving that sort of money to someone like Jaylen Brown makes a lot of sense to me and I think that there are going to be a handful of teams, particularly because there’s going to be such a weak free-agent class next year …
Golliver: Wait just one second. Do you want to give max money to a player like Jaylen Brown or give max money to Jaylen Brown? Because those two things are different. Like I think there’s this concept among the green-eyed Celtics media—which includes yourself—about how great a player like Jaylen Brown could be.
Sharp: Wait, hold up …
Golliver: Let’s talk about real Jaylen Brown. Do you want to give real Jaylen Brown a max contract?
Sharp: Let me take my green glasses off for a second here because you threw out the Jimmy Butler comparison to Jaylen Brown and people have been doing that with this dude for the last couple years. They’ve been comparing his numbers to Paul George. They’ve been comparing his numbers to Jimmy Butler. Jaylen Brown doesn’t really dribble. He doesn’t really create and he’s a decent shooter. He’s a better shooter in the NBA than I expected him to be. But if you’re expecting him to make a leap to become a Jimmy Butler/Paul George-type guy, I don’t really see him ever making that transformation in large part because he’s not able to be that creative off the dribble. So I don’t really put him in that category at all.
Golliver: Well good.
Sharp: But if I were Atlanta, I’d say that we want this Jaylen Brown. We’re not signing you—we understand it’s an overpay. Kinda in the same way that Otto Porter helps fill things out in Chicago even though he’s overpaid by $8-10 million. If I’m the Hawks, I can justify it by just saying this is a solid B+ wing who can be the fourth-best player on a really good team so let’s bring him in to kinda raise our floor a little bit.
Golliver: No I think you’re right. He’s not gonna make a Jimmy Butler-type leap. I don’t see him being that dynamic offensive player. I was just comparing the points that they’re at in their careers in terms of here’s what they’ve actually accomplished on the court and here’s what their current profile is. Here’s why they might want to bet on themselves because I don’t think if you’re based solely on what he’s done on the court and his current track, you can’t make an argument for a max contract if you’re the Celtics. And you shouldn’t. I’m just saying he’s been a good solider, he’s been through a fair number of roster transitions and changes of direction there in Boston. But if I’m Danny (Ainge), I don’t look at Jaylen Brown as this I just need to lock in for the next five years and he’s gonna be a Celtic for life and all that. He’s just not that guy.
Sharp: Yeah, see I would want to lock him in just because he’s good and not because I think he’s ever going to be great.
Golliver: Yeah, but you don’t pay good players max money.
Sharp: Well, sometimes you do.
Golliver: Well, you do if you’re the Celtics and you never actually get out of the Eastern Conference. If you want just a second-round exit.