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Jayson Tatum addresses Celtics' looming decision on Jaylen Brown's contract extension

By Jeff Smith,

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown.

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown find themselves in the upper-tier of NBA star duos. But following a disappointing exit from the 2023 NBA Playoffs with a Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, the attention now shifts to the contract situation looming for Brown.

With Tatum and Brown leading the way and the Celtics' impressive roster in recent years, many expected the team to bring another title back to Boston. Unfortunately, the title "drought" which goes back to the 2007-08 season, will extend for at least one more year, marking arguably the most disappointing result of Tatum and Brown's time in Boston.

Following the Game 7 loss, Tatum was asked about how important it is for the Celtics to sign Brown to a contract extension. The Celtics star stood up strongly to back his teammate and show his full support, as NBC Sports Boston detailed.

"It's extremely important," Tatum said. "He's one of the best players in this league. Plays both ends of the ball. We're still relatively young. And he's accomplished a lot so far in his career. So, I think it's extremely important."

Brown had a tough outing in Game 7, a performance that was highlighted even more due to the fact that Tatum injured his ankle less than one minute into the game. It was apparent Tatum was bothered throughout the night, and he finished the game with just 14 points on 5-13 shooting.

It was Brown who had the spotlight on him to carry a larger offensive workload than normal due to the injury, but the 26-year-old struggled shooting the ball and had eight turnovers, the most he's had in a single game all season. Brown shot 34.8 percent from the field (8-23) and just 11.1 percent from 3-point range (1-9).

Obviously, one game doesn't make or break the decision on Brown's potential contract. He has one year left on his current deal but is eligible for a a five-year, $295 million extension this offseason. Although the Game 7 loss will certainly weigh heavily on fans and is something that will be talked about often by the media, Brown is coming off the best season of his young career.

The Celtics' No. 3 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft posted career-highs this season in points per game (26.6), shooting percentage (49.1), rebounds (6.9) and free throw percentage (76.5). He also tied a high-water mark for assists per game at 3.5, a career-best that he originally set in 2021-22. On the downside, Brown's Game 7 struggles with turnovers wrapped up a season in which he turned the ball over the most in his career, averaging 2.9 per game.

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