The pathway for the Rockets to still pursue Jaylen Brown

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Six
Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Six / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Houston Rockets were reportedly interested in pursuing Jaylen Brown this offseason, as the franchise seeks to make roster modifications that will help the team ascend to title contenders. And with the most cap space in the league, why not go after the best of the best?

What sense does it make going after B-tier players? Granted, there was a time when the Rockets had to. 

Hell, we're not far removed from the Rockets shooting their shot at Aaron Gordon, only for Gordon to reject them and make it known that he didn't want to come to Houston (which is still fascinating). Let's also not forget the Rockets' attempts to retain Kelly Olynyk, only for him to bolt and take the first train out of Houston.

But that was then and this is now. This is a different era of Rockets basketball. At least it feels like it.

The Rockets are ready to win now, and they've proven that by hiring the best coach on the market in Ime Udoka. Who also has familiarity with the aforementioned Brown, along with what appears to be a rock-solid working relationship with the All-NBA performer. 

Brown has remained firm in his advocacy of Udoka, in light of a workplace violation that caused the Gregg Popovich disciple to lose his job in Boston. All the more reason for the Rockets to go after him.

Could the Rockets still have a shot at Jaylen Brown?

But that path became much more difficult after Brown made the All-NBA team, as it now allows the Celtics to give him a supermax contract (5 years $295 million). And I'm no psychiatrist but I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that Brown will accept that, if offered.

But there's that last part. Will the Celtics offer it to him? Remember, they'd have to do the same with Brown's teammate Jayson Tatum, who is also eligible for a supermax deal after making All-NBA, except his comes with a higher price tag (5 years $318 million).

I've viewed the C's giving the star duo matching supermax deals as a foregone conclusion, as they lucked up when both players became superstars, so they surely don't want to see them don another uniform. Also, they've already reached the NBA Finals and are loading up for an additional title run.

They have to know they wouldn't be having this same success without them, which makes it worth the combined $618 million between the two. And Boston isn't a small market, so the Celtics have the money to keep both.

But is there another angle to this? If there is, it would likely center around them not wanting to be locked up to both players financially. This would force them to choose one or the other, which would certainly hamper the Celtics' success on the floor, as both players bring different ingredients. 

How far is Tatum taking the C's without Brown? Is he ready to carry that franchise by himself? Most would lean towards no, at least not right now.

The Celtics will have to make that determination. And if they decide that Tatum isn't ready, they'll make the decision to lock up both Brown and Tatum, leaving the Rockets hanging in the balance.