Jaylen Brown contract incentive would push Celtics into luxury tax with NBA Finals win

Brad Stevens and the Celtics front office did a lot of work at the NBA trade deadline in order to try to put together a championship-level roster while also bringing the team below the luxury tax line.

However, Boston left open the door they could become a luxury tax team for this year via one happy scenario for the franchise: They win an NBA Championship.

The possibility stems from Jaylen Brown’s unique contract that was negotiated back in October 2019. There were a number of individual contract incentives in the deal (games played, NBA awards) as well as incentives triggered by team success (regular season wins, playoff rounds won).

According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Brown’s biggest remaining incentive is worth $964,286 for winning the NBA Finals. That would come on top of his $25.3 million base salary for the year.

The Celtics currently stand just $358,000 below the luxury tax line, which provided Boston with enough of a cushion to avoid the tax barring anything short of a NBA Finals win with Brown’s team contract incentives.

However, Boston will eek into that territory with a win over the Warriors, missing out on $11 million in potential payouts to non-tax paying teams in a year with plenty of big spenders in tax territory between the Nets and Warriors.

The Celtics clearly left themselves this kind of wiggle room by design with their maneuvers in February at the trade deadline. Needless to say, team ownership would be thrilled to pay a few extra million dollars in the present for the guarantee of Boston winning their first NBA title since 2008.

Brown’s deal isn’t the only one on the Celtics with plenty of contract implications involved based on how Boston performs in the NBA Finals. Al Horford’s contract guarantee for next season increased by $5 million after the Celtics made the NBA Finals and that total could go up by another $8 million if Boston ends up beating the Warriors next month.

Brown’s cap number will also increase for next season based on the team’s success so far in the postseason changing the number of likely incentives. However, with Boston already well over the salary cap, those increases won’t change anything about how the Celtics will operate next offseason.