Celtics Rumor: Celtics Would Move Jaylen Brown for Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard
NBA Insider Chris Mannix believes that the Celtics are entertaining offers for Jaylen Brown and that a blockbuster trade may be in the works. On Early Edition, Mannix said "there are a couple of players out there that I think the Celtics would move for Jaylen Brown. One would be Bradley Beal… the other is Damian Lillard.”
On June 2, 2021, Brad Stevens was named the new Celtics President, following Danny Ainge’s retirement. It didn’t take the Celtics long to make their first big move. In mid-June, the Celtics shipped former all-star Kemba Walker to the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Celtics also traded away the 16th overall pick in the 2021 draft as well as a 2023 second-round pick in the deal to acquire Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a 2025 second-round pick.
Following a disappointing season, the Celtics could be looking to shake things up even more dramatically. The Celtics had championship aspirations entering the season, but they finished 36-36, only good for 7th in the East.
Jaylen Brown: A Budding Star
Jaylen Brown received his first all-star nomination this past season, and the 24-year-old has a bright future ahead of him. Brown averaged 24.7 points per game on 48.4 percent shooting from the field, including 39.7 percent shooting from three. Besides his scoring ability, Brown is a tremendously versatile defender and he has been a key player for the Celtics.
Some question whether Tatum and Brown can play alongside each other. They are both elite individual scorers, but with the departure of Kemba Walker, Brown and Tatum will have significantly more play-making responsibility.
Bradley Beal: A Prolific Scorer
Bradley Beal was the second-leading scorer in the NBA this past season, averaging 31.3 points per game. The three-time all-star was named to the All-NBA third team following his brilliant season.
After the Wizards got off to a dreadful 6-17 start to the season, many questioned whether the Wizards were going to trade Beal. Despite his frustrations, Beal has been adamant about wanting to stay in Washington. Regarding the future of his career, Beal told Marc Spears that “if I can control it, I will finish it in D.C.”
An important factor in this potential trade is the well-documented friendship between Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal. They both grew up in St. Louis and starred at Chaminade High School, although they never played together. After Beal and Tatum played together during the all-star game, Beal said “it was fun, man. That’s my brother. That’s my brother forever. It was very unique and awesome to be able to share a floor with him, for us both to get going. Like I said before, we’ve never been on the same team. That in itself was a little honor. We were both ecstatic about it, and we were happy. St. Louis boys have to stick together.”
Damian Lillard: A Disgruntled Superstar
Damian Lillard had another monster season, averaging 28.8 points and 7.5 assists per game. Lillard notably had a masterful 55-point performance in a playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets. The six-time all-star and six-time All-NBA point guard is unquestionably one of the most dominant players in the league.
Lillard has recently grown frustrated with the Trail Blazers organization, and his future is up in the air. Portland’s inability to build a contending roster around Lillard and the backlash regarding their head coaching search are factors that could push Lillard “out the door,” Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports. If Lillard demands a trade from Portland, a package involving Jaylen Brown would certainly entice the Trail Blazers.
The Celtics' Dilemma
Even if the Celtics are able to acquire Lillard or Beal, would that push them to the top of the East? A team like Brooklyn with Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving is going to be extremely difficult to beat no matter who the Celtics trade for. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Trae Young also look poised to contend for championships for many years to come. The Celtics will think long and hard about whether trading Brown pushes them over the hump before pulling the trigger on any deal. The 23-year-old Tatum and 24-year-old Brown are just approaching their prime, and there’s no telling what they can do a few years down the road. The Celtics may be better off staying patient with their homegrown talent.