Proposed Celtics Trade Ditches Jaylen Brown for 2 New Starters

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

Getty Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics looks on during the second half against the New York Knicks.

The Boston Celtics look to be gunning for yet another deep playoff run in 2023. As things currently stand, the club boasts a stellar record of 52-24 and looks to be heading toward at worst a top-three finish in the Eastern Conference standings.

However, it does not appear to be all sunshine and rainbows in Beantown despite their successes, as All-Star wing Jaylen Brown has stirred up significant controversy with his unwillingness to commit to Boston for the long term.

According to Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey, should Brad Stevens and company be in a position where they could either lose the wing for nothing during the 2024 free agency period or try to flip him for assets in a trade, they should lean toward the latter, and could even push for a deal with the Atlanta Hawks for an exchange that reads as follows:

Celtics receive: Dejounte Murray, John Collins, and a first-round pick

Hawks receive: Jaylen Brown, Payton Pritchard, and Danilo Gallinari

While the idea of seeing Jaylen Brown donning another team’s threads may be a bit daunting for Celtics fans to think about, Bailey believes that, particularly with this exchange, it could be well worth it for Boston should they be forced to move on.

“Murray could basically function as a turbo-charged version of Marcus Smart, offering similarly relentless defense and loads more ability on the offensive end. Murray averaged 21.1 points, 9.2 assists, 8.3 rebounds and an NBA-best 2.0 steals last season. He hasn’t had the smoothest transition to Atlanta, but he’s still at 20.5 points, 6.1 assists (against 2.1 turnovers), 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals.

“Collins, a player who’s been on Boston’s radar before, looks overdue for a scenery change and could really see his numbers spike if he finds one. The Hawks keep cutting into his usage, but when he was more heavily featured, he averaged 19.2 points on 56.8/40/81.9 shooting over the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons,” Bailey wrote.

Bailey would also note that, though losing Jaylen Brown would be tough, essentially this deal can be broken down as Boston “sending out only one rotation player and bringing back two high-quality starters—one of whom has been an All-Star, the other who has previously put up All-Star-caliber stats—and an unprotected first-round pick.”

His reasoning behind this is that while Payton Pritchard has proven himself to be a quality contributor when given an opportunity, now in year three he is serving as a mere afterthought in a backcourt rotation that has the likes of Marcus Smart, Malcolm Brogdon, and Derrick White all ahead of him in the pecking order.

With this, he believes that the 25-year-old being included in the deal wouldn’t sting all that bad, as Bailey deemed him as “replaceable,” while losing Danilo Gallinari would have zero impact on the C’s play considering he has yet to even suit up for a game with the franchise as he continues to rehab his torn ACL.

Hawks a Top Candidate to Swipe Jaylen Brown From Celtics

The Atlanta Hawks have oft been viewed as a realistic landing spot for Jaylen Brown in the event that he moves on from the Boston Celtics at some point in the future.

In fact, just recently one anonymous league executive informed Heavy Sports’ NBA insider Sean Deveney that the Atlanta Hawks are considered to be a top suitor to acquire his services should he wind up jumping ship.

“One reason the Hawks are trying to unload (John) Collins is to get that cap space and be in position to add someone, another star, with Trae,” an Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. “It is not easy to get free agents to Atlanta but Jaylen Brown would be different—they want to be in position, at least, to make a move if he wants to be there. I think there is no question they are watching the situation with him. Closely.”

Though his hometown Hawks certainly seem to be an enticing landing spot for his services, one executive would also go on to mention to Deveney during their discussion that they have Brown “penciled in for sure” regarding his 2024 free agency, though followed this statement up by saying that “probably half the league does” as well.

Jaylen Brown Says ‘It’s An Honor’ to Be Top Dog on Celtics

Following Boston’s outing against the San Antonio Spurs late last week, Brown was asked by a reporter how it felt to be “the lone All-Star” on the floor while his co-star, Jayson Tatum was sidelined with a left hip contusion.

The wing was rather straightforward with his response, noting that being the go-to option on a team is always something he cherishes.

“It’s great and it’s fun,” Brown said. “It’s a challenge. I get up every day and do my job. Whether they ask me to score, defend, rebound, I’ve always been, since I’ve been here in Boston, I’ve always taken pride in doing what I’ve been asked to do and whatever challenge that’s been I’ve always met that challenge with excitement and a willingness to be a part of a team. When you get the opportunity to be ‘the guy’ that everybody’s kind of leaning on, it’s a privilege [and] it’s an honor. I don’t take those moments for granted.”

The reporter would state that Brown would be a top option “basically on every team around the NBA,” which, considering his stupendous averages of 26.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game coupled with his status of being a two-time All-Star, is a hard claim to refute.

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