Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 19: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics looks on against the Miami Heat during the first quarter in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden on May 19, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

The shock of a downright disastrous, 19-point Game 7 loss to the Heat was on the face of every Celtic following Monday’s loss at TD Garden.

Not only did the loss stop the Celtics dead in their tracks of what would’ve been a historic comeback from down 3-0, — and on a long weekend where I gotta admit that it almost felt like an inevitability given the stunning nature of their Game 6 win — but it also smacked the Celtics in the face with questions and talk of an uncertain future.

Especially for Jaylen Brown.

Whether he was ready for it or not.

  • Named Second Team All-NBA earlier this month after a career year, the 26-year-old Brown is eligible to sign a supermax contract extension worth close to $300 million with the Celtics this summer.

    And while it’s clear that it will be a top priority for the Celtics (and will do an awful lot for the team in terms of their next steps), it wasn’t something Brown wanted address in the immediate aftermath of a brutal loss.

    “I expected to win [Game 7] and move on,” Brown said when asked about his future following the loss. “That’s what my focus was on and that’s my focus has been on. We failed. I failed. It’s hard to think about anything else right now, to be honest. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

  • It’s of course worth noting that only the Celtics could sign Brown to a contract that lucrative — and Brown making an All-NBA team upped his potential in-Boston earnings up by a cool $100 million — and that should bode well for the Celtics’ odds of keeping the one-two punch of Brown and Jayson Tatum in town.

    But, again, Brown wasn’t touching the topic with a 10-foot pole.

    “You asked what’s my thought process? I don’t even really know how to answer that question right now, to be honest,” said Brown. “My thought process is take it one day at a time, focus on getting better. Focus on what the future holds and see where we are from there. I don’t know really know how to answer that.”

  • May 29, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) warms up before game seven against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

    May 29, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) warms up before Game 7 against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

  • Where things can get uncomfortable for the Celtics is when and/or if Brown remains that non-committal when the talks go from the press conference podium to the negotiating table.

    Given how downright talented Brown is and what the Celtics have attempted to build with Brown and Tatum as the pillars of their franchise, the idea of Brown not signing that supermax extension and walking for nothing as a free agent after next season is a worst case, doomsday kind of scenario for the Celtics. It almost can’t happen, to be honest, and would force the Celtics to look at potential trade options.

    But keeping Brown in Boston is something that Tatum, the 1A or 1B to Brown on any given night depending on who has the hot stroke, clearly wants to see happen this summer.

    “It’s extremely important,” Tatum said of the Celtics re-signing Brown this summer. “He’s one of the best players in this league. Plays both ends of the ball and [is] still relatively young. He’s accomplished a lot so far in his career. So I think it’s extremely, extremely important.”

  • May 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) and forward Jayson Tatum (0) celebrate during final minute of win against the Philadelphia 76ers during the fourth quarter of game three of the 2023 NBA playoff at Wells Fargo Center. Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    May 5, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (7) and forward Jayson Tatum (0) celebrate a win against the 76ers in Game 3 of the 2023 NBA playoff at Wells Fargo Center. (Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)

  • But beyond the money and beyond the connection with Tatum, Brown didn’t sound a man ready to throw the towel in on getting it done with this core and this franchise.

    “You take it on the chin [and] you learn from it,” Brown said of going through another letdown. “As hard as this one is right now to swallow, you get better. It’s a tough one. Tough one. Tough one for me. Tough one for our team. Tough one for our organization. Extremely bad timing. You just learn.

    “This is not the end. We got a lot better to get, a lot of better basketball to play and you just got to look at it like that.”

  • BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 15: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics and Head Coach Joe Mazzulla look on during the second quarter of Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden on April 15, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 15: Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics and Head Coach Joe Mazzulla look on during the second quarter of Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs between the Boston Celtics and the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden on April 15, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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