The NBA released its All-NBA teams this month, naming the top players for the regular season. It’s an honor to be included—only 15 players make either the first, second, or third team every year. It’s a good tool to use when talking about player accomplishments. Even more importantly, it’s a way for players to get paid.
This year, nobody exemplifies that better than the Boston Celtics duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
If both Brown and Tatum re-sign with the Celtics, they can earn a combined $613 million.
Does that number seem absurdly high? You’re not wrong—both are eligible for the largest contracts in NBA history. Here’s how they got here.
Tatum earned All-NBA first-team honors—his third All-NBA selection in his career—while Brown made the second team, the first time he’s made an All-NBA roster. The league’s rules state a player is eligible for a supermax contract if they’ve completed at least seven years in the NBA and make an All-NBA team the previous season or two of the three years before they’re eligible to sign an extension.
In Brown’s case, he’s in his seventh season, so he can sign a supermax this offseason. Tatum is only in his sixth year, but since he was named to the All-NBA rosters last season, too, he’ll be eligible for a supermax next summer regardless of what happens during the season.
Brown is eligible to sign a five-year, $295 million contract extension this summer. Should the Celtics offer him that, it would set an NBA record. Without the All-NBA selection, Brown’s next contract would have maxed out at $189 million over four seasons.
The following summer, Tatum could sign a five-year, $318 million deal. He likely would have maxed out around $200 million over four seasons if he hadn’t made All-NBA this season or next.
Just as a quick comparison, Michael Jordan made a bit over $94 million during his career. Brown and Tatum will each likely make more than three times that. Even adjusted for inflation, Jordan’s career earnings would be about $192.4 million—still over $100 million less than the max value of Brown’s next contract.
One player who will not benefit from the All-NBA announcement: Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant. He would have been eligible for a five-year, $233 million contract extension if he made an All-NBA team. Despite playing very well, Morant’s 2022-23 season was somewhat tumultuous. He missed 21 games for a variety of on and off-the-court reasons. Instead, Morant will make $194 million with his next contract.
It’s possible the Celtics end up not offering either Brown or Tatum the supermax. However, with the consistent success the duo has had, it’s hard to imagine the team finding a better player elsewhere in free agency.
Both might be moves the Celtics have to make—while Brown and Tatum reap the benefits. Awards season has never looked so expensive.
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