The Boston Celtics have been unable to find their footing so far under first-year head coach Ime Udoka, sitting in the middle of the East standings as the trade deadline nears. That has led to speculation about the potential breakup of Boston’s once-promising pairing of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Though both players are technically at the same position, they’ve been able to make things work together.
For the record, I don’t think the Celtics should move either player. Tatum is 23 and Brown is 25. Both players probably still have a decade of All-Star level play in them, and you don’t give up on that in the NBA. Boston likely tries to juggle the players around these two, but teams will check in as the trade market heats up.
Here are four trade scenarios involving Boston’s star players using the ESPN trade machine.
Trade 1: Celtics-Bulls
Bulls get: Jaylen Brown
Celtics get: Derrick Jones Jr., Troy Brown Jr., Coby White, Patrick Williams, 2022 protected first-round pick (POR), 2025 first-round pick
The Portland pick is likely to pay off in 2023 as it’s a lottery-protected selection and will be a good asset. White and Williams look like solid starters with the potential to become something more. Brown fills a big need for the Bulls defensively while maintaining the team’s positional composition. The Bulls are careful about upsetting the chemistry of this group, but that goes out the window when the team is playing like this and feels it can win a title.
Trade 2: Celtics-Hawks
Hawks get: Jayson Tatum
Celtics get: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, 2022 first-round swap, 2023 first-round pick
The Celtics would ideally try to flip this pick combination and move the swap option to 2023, as Atlanta’s 2022 selection is likely to be in the lottery. Reddish represents a potential filler for Tatum at small forward, while Bogdanovic and Huerter are plus starters in the backcourt. Boston can use its draft capital to round out the roster around Brown. For the Hawks, they get to build around an impressive trio of Trae Young, Tatum and John Collins.
Trade 3: Celtics-Raptors
Raptors get: Jayson Tatum
Celtics get: Scottie Barnes, Chris Boucher, OG Anunoby, 2022 first-round swap, 2024 first-round pick
If this was a deal for Brown, I think the Celtics would take it in a heartbeat. Tatum is the better player though, so this will take more consideration. Ultimately, the Raptors are giving up a lot but the potential of a Tatum-Pascal Siakam-Fred VanVleet trio is tantalizing. VanVleet is an All-Star, so parting with Anunoby is not as crazy as it once seemed. Barnes might end up being the piece that nixes this type of deal.
Trade 4: Celtics-Grizzlies
Grizzlies get: Jaylen Brown
Celtics get: Kyle Anderson, Tyus Jones, De’Anthony Melton, 2022 first-round pick, 2024 first-round pick
This is not an offer the Celtics would take, although the Grizzlies throwing Desmond Bane in the mix would make things interesting. Brown fits the timeline for Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., but the Grizzlies have to add either Bane or Dillon Brooks to make the Celtics really consider an offer like this. It’s essentially dumping Brown’s contract while collecting picks and pivoting the roster entirely around Tatum.