The Boston Celtics' unceremonious booting from the NBA playoffs brings more questions to their current roster. Had they lost in a good, close game, perhaps these questions would've been avoided. The way they got manhandled by the Heat in Game 7, though, fans are calling into question the future of some of these players. Of course, the main player we're talking about is star forward Jaylen Brown.
Jaylen Brown's Celtics future was already in question well before the playoffs started. The talks started to heat up more when he earned Second Team All-NBA honors, making him eligible for a supermax. Now, these discussions are at a fever pitch after Brown's… for lack of a better word, terrible Game 7 performance. With Jayson Tatum hobbled after an early injury, Boston needed Brown to show up. Instead, Brown put together one of his worst playoff performances, shooting just 4-15 from the field with eight turnovers.
Should the Celtics trade Jaylen Brown? There's plenty of reasons why they absolutely should, and let's go over them.
Jaylen Brown is not worth a supermax
Before let's start this section, I'd like to preface this by saying that Jaylen Brown is a damn good basketball player. You don't average 26.6 points per game on 58.1% True Shooting if you're a scrub. There's a reason why he's a centerpiece in a lot of Celtics trade rumors: he's a player that many teams want to have.
With that being said… Jaylen Brown is not a player worthy of a supermax. Or rather, he hasn't shown that he's someone who deserves to be paid like a superstar. When he's on, Brown is one of the best scorers in the planet. He also provides solid defense when he's locked in. However… there's far too many times when Brown would disappear in random moments during a season or even a game.
Game 7 was unfortunately a prime example of that. That game was a chance for Brown to forge his legacy. With his Celtics partner Jayson Tatum injured, Brown could've taken over and willed Boston to victory. Instead, Brown put on a stinker of his own. His biggest flaws on offense came back to haunt him, as his lackadaisical dribble was exploited by Miami over and over again.
Should Brown agree to a deal less than a supermax, the Celtics might be more inclined to keep the All-Star forward. Unfortunately, that is likely not going to happen. It's rare for a young player to accept a discount this early into his career. If the Celtics want to keep him around, they will need shell out that supermax for Brown. And as stated earlier, Brown is not a player worthy of a supermax.
When you're a supermax player, you are expected to show up in big moments like that. That's just how it goes.
It's time for a shakeup
The current Celtics core of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart have played together since 2017. In that timeframe, Boston has reached the Conference Finals four times, and advanced to the Finals once. Sounds impressive, right?
Yes, making it to the Conference Finals is impressive. At some point, moral victories start to not matter and feel worse and worse. Boston has been the bridesmaid for three of those ECF appearances. The one time they made the Finals, they lost there as well. At some point, the team has to tinker and take a big risk to make drastic improvements to their roster.
Jaylen Brown is the Celtics' best asset to acquire a top-tier talent to pair with Tatum. They already tried dangling him for Kevin Durant, but Brooklyn's demands were far higher than what they were willing to give up. They will likely need to package Brown with another player (the Nets wanted Smart along with Brown for KD), but if it means getting a ring, it's worth it.
It's worth pointing out that the Celtics shouldn't trade Brown for the sake of trading him: they need to make sure that their trade will improve their chances, not a lateral move. Still, if another big-name player hits the market, perhaps Boston should look deeper into a trade.
Should the Celtics trade Jaylen Brown? If he hunts for the supermax extension that he's eligible for, then the answer should be yes. Still, that doesn't mean that Boston should ship Brown off for pennies on the dollar. Like the Raptors did in 2019 with Kawhi Leonard and the Bucks in 2021 for Jrue Holiday, the team needs to wait patiently to see what kind of offers are available.