Trade chatter has surrounded Jaylen Brown and the Boston Celtics for weeks now. Despite both Brown and Jayson Tatum insisting they can play together, the noise from fans, pundits, and even former Celtics greats like Robert Parish consistently seems to perk up in the background. That talk and pessimism about the team’s future seem to have seeped into the front office.
The Celtics have not indicated they will trade Brown before the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline. However, concern exists about Brown’s desire to stay in Boston if the C’s cannot pull it together over the final few months.
All the anxiety is understandable. Brown could shift the NBA landscape by demanding a trade in the near future. But the Celtics have lots of options to assuage fears going forward.
Celtics insiders are reportedly concerned that Jaylen Brown could demand a trade this summer
Even though the Celtics won’t move Jaylen Brown at the NBA trade deadline, they’re reportedly concerned he could ask out this summer.
Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com reported Brown might seek a trade this summer if he deems that “the mix isn’t right.” Bulpett noted Boston isn’t “floating” Brown’s name in talks, and rival executives understand the asking price for the All-Star swingman is astronomical.
The 25-year-old is one of the more skilled two-way wings in the NBA. He’s also tried to preach positivity regarding his relationship with Tatum, including after a triple-double against the New York Knicks early in January.
Still, the Celtics’ front office seems wary of Brown’s future intentions.
Brown’s rookie-scale extension runs through 2024. Boston won’t rush to trade him. But the Celtics would likely prefer to avoid shaky chemistry in the locker room.
However, the C’s should feel comforted by the fact they are playing their best basketball of the season.
Brown and the Celtics are thriving as of late
Jaylen Brown has contributed to winning in a big way in the last several games.
The Celtics have won four of their last five contests since Marcus Smart returned to the rotation. Brown averaged 26.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists on 48% shooting in that stretch. He also had an absurd +25.3 net rating over those five games.
Everything is clicking for Boston. Smart has been more efficient in terms of shot selection while providing strong playmaking, and Tatum is channeling frustrations over his shooting slumps into his best run of the season. Suddenly, the Celtics’ ceiling looks quite clear.
Boston is the No. 9 seed in the Eastern Conference. But just 6.0 games separate the Celtics and the first-place Chicago Bulls. Moreover, the C’s have the third-best point differential in the conference.
The Celtics look primed to make a run. They could also set themselves up for a productive offseason with a slew of moves ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline.
The Celtics could gain clarity at the NBA trade deadline
The Celtics are one of the most intriguing teams to watch ahead of the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline.
Reports in mid-January suggested team president Brad Stevens had received plenty of calls on the trade front. Boston could trade veteran players such as Dennis Schroder (a near-certainty), Josh Richardson, and Al Horford to get further under the luxury tax and open up minutes for young wings Aaron Nesmith and Romeo Langford.
Diving deeper blow the tax affords the Celtics flexibility to make moves this summer. They also have multiple trade exceptions to get slightly more aggressive in that market and seek roster upgrades.
Even if things fall apart and Brown wants to leave, there’s a path for Boston to recover, especially if they can move some salary in the next week-plus.
It’s feasible they could orchestrate some a sign-and-trade for Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal if he’s intent on leaving The District this summer. Doing so would pair Beal with his fellow St. Louis native and childhood friend in Tatum.
The Celtics are on alert concerning Jaylen Brown’s mindset. But they hold a lot of power in this situation.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.