The future of the Boston Celtics is in flux with Kyrie Irving at the center of their murky summer outlook. Whatever the Celtics decide to do with Irving, who is expected to opt out of his current contract to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, will affect the core of the team including third-year swingman Jaylen Brown.
Boston exercised the 2019-20 rookie scale team option for Brown’s fourth year in the league. He is considered a key player in the franchise’s future but could also be trade bait for a bigger fish.
Despite the dip in stats which can be attributed to the team’s rocky 2018-19 season rotational issues, Brown played better after the All-Star break, where he shot 50.2 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from three. He averaged 13.0 points and 4.2 rebounds in only 25.9 minutes of action.
If team president Danny Ainge continues to pursue Anthony Davis in a trade, then perhaps teams may want to line up to snatch Jaylen Brown away from the Celtics in exchange for a veteran that can partner with the New Orleans Pelicans center. Ainge wants to win as many titles as he can sooner than later.
Brown’s contract for next season is fully guaranteed at $6,534,829 so any team that would like to secure him won’t have to give up a lot in terms of salary to take him off the Celtics’ hands. But they should, however, be ready to give up a player that’s ready to contribute to a winning team right away.
The Celtics have exercised team contract options on Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Guerschon Yabusele.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 31, 2018
Here are the three teams that should try to acquire Brown from the Celtics:
3. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs have the fifth pick in this year’s draft and they could offer that to Boston including a player or two such as J.R. Smith who’s expiring contract can come in handy on better deals down the line. The Celtics could also use Smith as a floor spacer during the season, wait for his deal to expire and thus free up more cap space for next summer.
A backcourt featuring Brown and Collin Sexton would create excitement for the fans who are looking for a reason to come and watch the games live. If these two develop any kind of chemistry, they could become a backcourt that would be the envy of other teams. A Cavs team featuring Sexton, Brown, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. in the starting lineup would be quite intriguing and one that could develop into a playoff contender eventually.
2. Charlotte Hornets
The jury is still out on whether Miles Bridges can be a star in this league but he does have potential and the Hornets are high on this kid heading into his second year in the league. Pairing him with Brown would be a dream for the franchise that has had a number of missteps in terms of the talent that they bring in except for Kemba Walker who will be a free agent in July.
If they can keep Walker from (pardon the pun) walking away from the only franchise he has ever known, then they need a player like Brown to form a strong nucleus for the future. The University of California alum has the ability to become a terrific all-around player and his talents could be maximized better in Charlotte rather than in Boston.
Charlotte has the 12th pick of the draft, Malik Monk and Cody Zeller to dangle in front of Ainge and if all else fails, they could attract a third team to help facilitate the trade for Brown.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
One of the teams that would be interested in a deal for the talented young player would be the Sixers who are unsure whether they can re-sign Jimmy Butler over the summer when he opts out of his contract. If Philly can find a way to trade for Brown using this year’s pick and a future one along with Zhaire Smith, their young core will be composed of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Brown. That’s a trio that could own the East in a couple of years.
Of course, since Boston will be looking for veterans, the Sixers need a third team to join them.
Brown is a cheaper alternative to Butler who is expected to receive offers from various teams. Rather than spend a fortune to re-sign their All-Star forward, it might be best for the Sixers to head off in a different direction by going for a youth movement and wait for their core players to mature.