The Boston Celtics crashed out of the 2023 NBA playoffs in heartbreaking fashion, coming back from 3-0 down to the Miami Heat to force a Game 7 at home and then getting crushed in Boston in that final game. Now, the team must seriously consider making some changes to the team during the Celtics' offseason, whether they are major or minor. Here are three Celtics trade targets that could improve the team, including two Jaylen Brown trades with the same Western Conference franchise.
Draymond Green from the Warriors
The first Celtics trade idea involves keeping both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown as the core of their team in the 2023 NBA offseason. If this happens, Boston will owe the duo around $600 million over the next six years. Still, in the NBA, it’s hard to find two young stars like this.
If the team is going to keep the Brown and Tatum attack intact, they need to get a strong, experienced leader in the building who can hold them accountable and help them win series like the one they just lost to the Heat.
If that player can defend multiple positions and be a facilitator on offense as well, all the better.
Where can they find all that wrapped up in one? By making Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green a Celtics' trade target.
Green, like the rest of the Warriors stars, is getting up there in age, and the team needs to get younger and more athletic. Golden State can also benefit from a chemistry perspective, as Green punching teammate Jordan Poole in the face this preseason seemed to doom the team from the beginning.
In Boston, Green’s antics will be fresh, and Brown and Tatum can probably use some tough love from a teammate. One thing that is for sure is that they won’t be able to put up lackluster and half-hearted performances as they did in the playoffs this season with Draymond on the squad.
Damian Lillard from the Trail Blazers
After his second-team All-NBA performance in 2022-23, Jaylen Brown is now in line for a $295 million contract extension. Brown is an excellent player, but he does have his deficiencies. He can be too passive at times and he’s not the best ball-handler.
Brown also isn’t a perfect fit next to Tatum, the best player on the team.
If a Celtics trade could improve on the areas that Brown struggles in and even push Tatum down a peg to become the second-best player on the team, that would be great for Boston. One Celtics' trade target who could do this is the Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard.
Lillard will be 33 in July, but he is still an excellent player and would be even better next to a young star like Tatum. He is also a big-game player who has won playoff games by himself like the Celtics needed Brown to do in Game 7 vs. the Heat.
In this Jaylen Brown trade, the Celtics get a veteran star who could help Tatum take the next step, and the Blazers get a budding young star who will be a much better fit with whichever top prospect they take with the No. 3 overall selection in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Speaking of that No. 3 pick…
Scoot Henderson (via the No. 3 pick) from the Blazers
Instead of trying to push its way over the hump and win a championship next season (like with Damian Lillard or Draymond Green), Boston could also reset the clock on their championship window by trading for the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
With the way the draft lottery fell, it now seems pretty set in stone that French sensation Victor Wembanyama will go No. 1 to the San Antonio Spurs, and Alabama freshman forward Brandon Miller will go No. 2 to the Charlotte Hornets.
That leaves the consensus No. 2 prospect, G League Ignite’s Scoot Henderson falling to the No. 3 pick, which the Blazers currently own.
A Jaylen Brown trade for the pick that nets Henderson won’t win the Celtics an NBA title in the next year or maybe even two. However, the young point guard has the skills and mentality o someday be a championship-winning player.
With this Celtics trade, the Blazers get help now for Lillard, and Boston gets a better fit for Jayson Tatum, who is still just 25. Plus, the team won’t have to shell out $295 million from Brown, which will allow them to put more skilled role players around their new core of Tatum and Henderson.
This is a win-win for both teams, and the best deal the Celtics can make this offseason for the long-term health of the franchise.