Bradley Beal's tanked trade value could serve as cautionary tale for Celtics

Bradley Beal's trade value is reportedly a fraction of what it was last summer according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst. His supermax $50 million per year contract he signed last offseason is the biggest reason. Teams need to be wary of this when signing their own upcoming free agent to now $60 million per supermax deals.

If the player is a surefire superstar who can lead your team to a championship as a #1 option, then it's a no brainer. If you somehow have the opportunity to pair two 1st team All-NBA players that compliment each other, then that's also the obvious choice. But typically in those situations one or more of the players are making less to play together (Wade/LeBron, Curry/Durant, LeBron/Davis). In those three cases, none of those six superstars were on five year supermax deals actually.

We've never had an NBA champion with two players signed to five year supermax deals. Tatum is deserving of a supermax, but despite Jaylen Brown being voted 2nd team All-NBA, is he actually a top 10 player in the NBA? He's eligible to make the supermax based on voters which include "experts" like Mark Jackson who didn't even have Nikola Jokic on his NBA MVP ballot. Not even 2nd or 3rd.

A year later and Jaylen is now expected to sign a contract where he will make much more money than even Beal:
Look, Jaylen isn't as bad as some people think right now. That's prisoner of the moment syndrome at it's finest. He deserved to make the All-Star game this season. Did I think he should be a starter? No. He's not elite like that. He's a big time scorer who when he gives his all on defense makes for an All-Star two way player.

Being open to trading Jaylen Brown as opposed to giving him $60 million a year doesn't make one a "Jaylen hater" as dumb fan boys on Twitter will call you. It also doesn't mean just trading him for a piss poor return.

Two years ago when Beal was approximately Jaylen's age and had one year left on his contract, Celtics writers were proposing trading Jaylen Brown plus Robert Williams (plus more in many cases). That was dumb. Last summer the value had gone down to just Jaylen, which was also an overpay. Now this summer, Beal might get you just Tyler Herro and a protected 1st rounder.

If the Celtics sign Jaylen Brown to a supermax deal this summer they are ineligible to trade him for a calendar year. This will be his 7th NBA season, so he's obviously in his prime years even if he still has the potential to peak higher. But by the 3rd year of his supermax deal he will already be on the wrong side of 30 and father time is undefeated.

The vast majority of players start regressing off their peak in their 30's and they break down much more often. Jaylen has already had his knee be "managed" in his 20's.

During the years of Jaylen's contract in his 30's he would be making about $65 million per year. If Jaylen does improve and stay healthy and the Celtics win a title in this coming 2023-24 season, than obviously, he'd still hold All-Star trade value (But why would you trade him then?!). But if the Celtics fall short again or Jaylen doesn't improve, the suitors lining up to trade for a player being paid to be a #1 guy, but not even winning a title as a #2 will dwindle. And if other teams exploit Jaylen deficiencies like Spoelstra and the Heat did and Brown has a worse year, his value will go down even further. Even more so if he gets hurt.

So while the easy decision for Wyc and Brad at this moment would be to just give Jaylen Brown the supermax, they could regret it as soon as next postseason. If your goal is to win a title, no one should care about regular season stats. Defenses are a different beast in postseason series's. The Celtics weren't a better team than the Warriors in 2022 nor the Nuggets this past season. They were more talented than Miami, but the more talented team doesn't always win.

Next season expect the Nuggets to be great again and also expect at least another one or two elite teams to jump in the mix. Just like a 2022 NBA Finals appearance didn't guarantee a 2023 one, there's no guarantee this Celtics team even makes the ECF next season. I mean they should, but look what happened to the Suns after they made the Finals.

Will Brogdon be the 6th man of the Year again? Will Derrick White make All-Defense again? Will White go on a shooting burner again like he did this postseason? Will Horford be as good at age 37?

In my opinion signing Jaylen Brown to a max contract made sense. Signing him to supermax this summer doesn't. If he takes a leap this coming season and/or the Celtics win a title then sign him to a supermax next summer. Celtics fans who rooted for Brown to be classified as a forward so he'd make all NBA were oblivious to the financial repercussions. That extra $100 million makes a huge difference.

The Celtics can still pay Jaylen more than any other team could in free agency without supermaxing him. No one would be asking Jaylen to take a "hometown discount" since he'd still be making more in his "hometown" than anywhere else. It's comical that many fans don't understand what a hometown discount is. A hometown discount is the Red Sox wanting Mookie Betts to sign for less to stay in Boston than he could get on another team (for example the Dodgers). Offering Jaylen a regular max or a number between the max and supermax isn't a discount. It's more (or much more depending on the number) than Brown can get anywhere else.

If you have a player who would rather play elsewhere for less then do you really want to pay him like a superstar? Wade for example took a hometown discount to bring in LeBron AND Bosh. And Wade was better than Jaylen, so sorry if I don't think it's disrespectful to pay Jaylen Brown only 200 to 250 million to stay in Boston as opposed to make less elsewhere.

If you can't agree to a deal then you move him at some point between now and the trade deadline. Every star player more or less as a defacto no-trade clause in their contracts nowadays in the player empowerment era. Don't get it twisted. When Durant was available, he wasn't available for 29 teams to trade for. Maybe 4 or 5. Same will go for Lillard this offseason if he decides to leave.

Beal has a no trade clause, but it will be the same situation as if he didn't. No team is trading for a max contract guy who will just be disgruntled and demand out from their new team. What Beal's no trade clause does is allows him not to be treated like John Wall if/when he's no longer a star player. He wouldn't have to decide between riding the bench or taking a huge buyout.

The Wizards were foolish to re-sign Beal and even more foolish to give him a no trade clause. It means they almost have to trade him this offseason for whatever they can get. Washington should have traded Beal in 2021 one year prior to free agency. His trade value has gone down from 2021 to 2022 to 2023. Jaylen's has gone down from last offseason to now, and it be even less once he's on a $300 million supermax deal.

Washington could have gotten packages starting with DeAron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Jaylen Brown, or the Warriors #2 pick (and drafted LaMelo) if they hadn't done the easy thing keeping Beal and signing him to a supermax deal. Celtics could be in a similar tanked value situation a year from now.

If Jaylen balks at a contract less than a supermax, you should be able to get a haul for him this offseason despite his coming free agency in a year. If he's so elite that you think he's a supermax contract player, he should bring you a package like the Nets got for Kevin Durant. If teams aren't willing to offer as high a bounty for Jaylen as they did for Mitchell, Gobert, and Durant, than that would be proof that he's not an elite player worthy of a super max contract.

You can't have it both ways. Either he's a supermax elite #1 guy who teams will be lining up to trade a ton for or he's not, and supermaxing him would make him overpaid and with a tanked trade value. Maybe that's still more than Beal's value now, but it sure would be a lot less than Brown's right now without a supermax deal.

Update 4:23pm: I referenced the Kings as a trade parter Washington could have gotten great value from for Beal less than years ago. Kings attempting to add Beal to their Fox/Sabonis duo is a good example of his sunken value.