After managing to valiantly stave off a sweep and claw their way back from an 0-3 hole in this year's Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics ultimately saw their season come to an end in Monday's Game 7, as they fell to the Miami Heat by a final score of 103-84.
Now, the supposed win-now C's head into an offseason filled with a myriad of questions regarding the current makeup of their core, and perhaps the biggest quagmire of all revolves around the future of cornerstone, Jaylen Brown.
Despite putting forth his best season to date in 2022-23, where he earned his second All-Star appearance and his first All-NBA nod, and the fact that the club has found ample success with both he and fellow building block Jayson Tatum in tow throughout the years, there are concerns that the 26-year-old could desire a change of scenery this summer and, in turn, look for a trade outbound.
While he is eligible for a contract extension, and his co-star Tatum hopes to see the wing inked to the max, these rumblings of an interest in a potential trade have followed Brown throughout the season and, with the fact that the Celtics fell short of banner number 18 again, it's rather likely that such chatter is bound to grow louder as we head into the offseason.
Now, should one put money on Boston trading their seventh-year wing this summer? Not necessarily, and the oddsmakers seem to agree with this sentiment. However, should this hypothetical wind up becoming a reality, there are three teams, in particular, fans should be keeping a close eye on.
Jaylen Brown trade destination No. 3) Portland Trail Blazers
To many, it seems as though the Portland Trail Blazers will either go all in on bolstering their talent pool around franchise centerpiece Damian Lillard or blow it all up and embark on a full-fledged rebuild this offseason.
Should the former wind up taking place, GM Joe Cronin will likely look to the trade market to address their dire rotational needs, particularly when it comes to their search for a co-star to pair alongside the Portland guard, and it's safe to assume that Jaylen Brown would be high on their list of targets.
Already this year, it has been floated by Yahoo’s Jake Fischer that the Celtics stud has been a player that Lillard “has had on his proverbial list” of desired running mates.
Of course, while the concept of the two formulating a Big-Two in Rip City sounds highly entertaining, considering Dame is owed over $40 million annually over the next three years, coupled with the fact that Brown will be eligible for a lofty payday himself once his current deal expires in 2024, it’s a bit difficult to see Portland making the numbers work from a sheer cap perspective, let alone a from a trade package standpoint.
Nevertheless, should they wish to keep Lillard happy and provide him with a co-star like the studly two-way wing, the front office will likely look to pull out all the stops possible to make such a pairing happen.
Jaylen Brown trade destination No. 2) Atlanta Hawks
Seeing Atlanta fall on this list should come as no shock to anyone. A native of Marietta, Georgia, Jaylen Brown grew up a Hawks fan and has often been public about his enthusiasm when playing against his hometown team throughout his NBA tenure.
Perhaps there's a possibility of the two parties joining forces?
Obviously, acquiring the star wing via trade would cost the Hawks a pretty penny, and, as suggested already, it would then cost them even more thereafter what with his current contract set to expire in 2024. That said, perhaps the idea of pairing Brown with current franchise cornerstone Trae Young would prove to be worth the high price tag for the likes of Landry Fields and company.
Perhaps a package centered around John Collins and Dejounte Murray could be enough to persuade the Celtics to sign off on sending their prized two-way wing home.
Jaylen Brown trade destination No. 1) Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets seem interested in adding a veteran player and a star attraction to their roster now with Ime Udoka leading the charge, and rumor has it they have their sights set on Jaylen Brown.
Back in late March, Rockets insider John Granato reported that he believes the wing “wants out” of Boston, and mentioned that GM Rafael Stone is already looking to make a run at him this coming summer. Now, this was all before it was official that his former Celtics coach in Udoka agreed to terms to become the club's new headman, so it's only reasonable to believe that this interest should continue to increase as time moves on.
When it comes to any star presumed to become available on the trade market this summer, one should expect that Houston would have one of the better chances of successfully striking a deal for them considering their assortment of young talents with high upside coupled with their treasure trove of draft capital at their disposal.
Should the Celtics be open to offloading Jaylen Brown this summer, there likely wouldn't be many other organizations out there that could shell out a more lucrative and worthwhile deal than the Rockets.