- ESPN.com NBA writer since 2010
- Covered Cleveland Cavs for seven years
- Author of two books
Brian Windhorst and a team of ESPN’s Insiders sort out life and the news from in and around the NBA world, including bonus implications for two of the NBA’s young stars, one thing you might not know about New York Knicks forward Julius Randle and what’s going on with the Philadelphia 76ers’ starting lineup(s).
There has been much discussion over the upcoming NBA Most Valuable Player Award vote, an annual tradition that varies in its intensity. But one award race has more tangible stakes to be determined in the season’s final weeks: The All-NBA candidacies of Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant and Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown.
In Morant’s case it is about a huge contract bonus — in addition to his eight-game suspension, which he has already served. In Brown’s, it is about huge money too, but perhaps more importantly, whether the Celtics will be able to keep him past next season.
Last summer, Morant signed a five-year contract extension with the Grizzlies that starts next season and guarantees him $192.2 million. The deal had what is commonly known as a “Rose provision” — named after 2011 MVP Derrick Rose — that would give a bonus to Morant if he made any of the All-NBA teams, won MVP or Defensive Player of the Year this season.
That bonus is worth $39.2 million to Morant, pushing the value of the deal to $231 million. And it’s all or nothing. If he doesn’t get one of those awards this season, the bonus chance expires.
Brown has one year left on the four-year, $106 million deal he signed in 2019. He is eligible for an extension this summer. This gets complicated because of various clauses, moving numbers and the currently negotiated collective bargaining agreement. But it can be broken down simply:
If Brown makes All-NBA this year, he is heavily incentivized (it could mean roughly $10 million more per season on the next deal) to extend his contract with the Celtics now.
If he doesn’t make All-NBA, he is heavily incentivized not to extend with the Celtics and become a free agent in 2024 regardless of how he feels about the team.
What Brown ultimately decides to do is another matter, but for the Celtics and their fans, what his options are after this season are relevant.
This coming All-NBA vote is way more consequential financially for Brown and Morant than anyone else.
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