After they had fought back from a 3-0 series deficit to force Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics had an excellent opportunity to return to the NBA Finals.
Everything seemed to be set up for them — they had Game 7 at home and all the momentum and emotional energy on their side.
But instead, they put forth a total dud, as the Miami Heat put them to sleep for the summer with a 103-84 decision.
Now, uncertainty has replaced optimism and excitement as the predominant mood for the Celtics.
Jaylen Brown, one of their two stars, is a year away from becoming a free agent, and there is some speculation he may not want to remain in Boston.
But Keith Smith reminded fans that the Celtics can still offer him a more lucrative contract than any other team.
Because I've heard it wrongly stated on two prominent podcasts today:
Boston is the only team that can offer Jaylen Brown the super max. BOS can offer him projected 5 years, $290.3M
Another team if they trade for Brown or sign him in FA is limited to projected 4 years, $184.5M.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 30, 2023
Brown had a career year, averaging 26.6 points and 6.9 rebounds a game while shooting 49.1 percent from the field, all of which were career highs, in the regular season.
With co-star Jayson Tatum still a liability in big games, Brown has often stepped up in the playoffs, including in last year’s NBA Finals when Boston lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
Now, some are wondering if the Celtics would be best served to trade Brown either this summer or during next season in order to prevent him from walking in free agency in 2024.
For years, many felt they had dynastic potential, but now their chances of winning even one NBA championship are in serious doubt.NEXT: Former NBA Star Sees This Season As A 'Failure' For Celtics