There was an assumption among some NBA clubs that Malcolm Brogdon was up for grabs in the trade market after he’d already been scheduled to go to the Clippers in the 3-team deal that netted Kristaps Porzingis for the Celtics.
But while perhaps every player is available if the right deal comes along, at least one team saw the door shut on its bid when it came calling.
“We asked about him and we were told he’s a valued member of their team,” said a league source.
That’s it? Nothing else? No other discussion?
“They said he’s a valued member of their team, and that’s where it ended,” he told Heavy Sports. “I don’t know if that changes down the line, but we didn’t get anywhere. And I’m pretty sure we aren’t the only team that got that response.”
Brogdon Shined for Celtics in 2022-23
There could be several reasons for the Celtic stance, not the least of which is that Brogdon is coming off a seriously good season. In a career-low 26.0 minutes per game, he averaged 14.9 points and 3.7 assists and shot a personal best 44.4 percent on 3-pointers — all off the bench. His numbers and impact were good enough to earn him the Sixth Man of the Year award.
And while he arrived in trade from Indiana under the cloud of his injury history, Brogdon was managed well and played in 67 regular season games.
Alas, the image Celtic fans took into the season was of the 30-year-old point guard bedeviled by a right elbow/forearm problem that forced him to miss Game 6 against Miami in the conference finals and mirror the Celtic sadness with a woefully unproductive seven minutes in the elimination game two nights later. Brogdon missed all three of his shots and was a minus-15 as the Celts fell by 19.
Surgery may still be a possibility for the injury, but the club is confident there will be no lingering effects. (The Clippers didn’t pull out of the trade because they thought Brogdon was damaged; they were forced to decline when they couldn’t get him examined in time.) With Marcus Smart having been substituted to make the Porzingis acquisition, Brogdon may be even more important to the Boston operation than he was last season.
“They didn’t want to move him in the first place,” said one source involved in the pre-draft maneuverings. “They really like Malcolm. But they had to balance out their roster. They didn’t want to go into another season having to rely so heavily on (Robert) Williams and (Al) Horford. They had a bit of a logjam in the backcourt, and they really needed some insurance up front.”
Double-Big Lineup Should Help Celtics’ Backcourt
Getting Porzingis also helps the Celtics at guard, in that, with the ability of Horford and Porzingis to stretch the floor offensively, it pretty much assures they can go the vast majority of the time with a double-big lineup. That would move Jaylen Brown to the backcourt, where he will regularly enjoy a size advantage. Moving Brown and Tatum over a spot after Horford was re-acquired in 2021 was a key to the Celts advancing to the NBA Finals the following spring.
It was hoped that Brogdon would be a key to getting the club over the top this past season, but the C’s stumbled at times throughout the playoffs.
“He was huge for them all year,” said an Eastern Conference source. “They’d go to the bench, and Brogdon would make sure the offense would keep coming. They had good depth, but he ran that second unit. Even when something broke down, he’d drive or stick a 3.
“They got into some of their old iso habits in the playoffs, and it really hurt them when Brogdon wasn’t able to come in and hold the fort like he’d been doing.
“I don’t know what they’re going to be like without Smart and Grant Williams, but they’re going to be harder to guard with Porzingis in there and Brown able to go against some smaller guys again.”