The Indiana Pacers are trading PG Malcolm Brogdon to the Boston Celtics, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Celtics will send C Daniel Theis, G Aaron Nesmith and a 2023 first-round pick to the Pacers in return for Brogdon. This is a very questionable trade by Indiana. Boston makes out like a bandit in the deal if this is it.
Brogdon is a great addition if he can stay healthy. That’s really the only snag that the Celtics could run into, though they didn’t give up anything of value in the deal. The first-round pick likely ends up being in the bottom half of the draft unless the Celtics tank. Nesmith isn’t anything more than a rotation player at best. Theis is a throwaway to make salary match. His contract is actually awful at around $8-9 million per season until 2024-25.
The key here is Brogdon not getting hurt. He’s had issues with plantar facia and his right Achilles the past few seasons. Brogdon hasn’t played 60 or more games in a season since 2018-19. The Celtics have enough talent to get through the regular season with Brogdon resting here and there to stay fresh. If he’s healthy, the Celtics have a shot to win it all. If he’s not healthy, it’ll be more of an uphill battle, likely tougher than 2021-22.
Brogdon is also signed through 2024-25 at a cap hit of around $21-23 million per season. The fact the Celtics didn’t have to give up Marcus Smart in the deal is a coup. Though, the back court is extremely crowded if Smart, Brogdon, Jaylen Brown and Derrick White are all on the roster in 2022-23. Still, you now can play small ball with Smart, Brogdon, Brown, Tatum and Robert Williams, which is a very tough lineup to beat.
Does Brogdon put the Celtics over the top? Not really. If he’s healthy, he’s a borderline All-Star guard. Boston’s weaknesses were somewhat at guard since Smart isn’t a true PG. Brogdon should be able to facilitate a bit better. It’s not something that’s overly difficult when you have Brown and Jayson Tatum on the roster. At his best Brogdon is an above-average 3-point shooter and someone who can pick up scoring if Brown and Tatum are off the court.
Does this put the Celtics ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks? Not quite. It’d be an even matchup if both sides are 100% healthy. We also need to see what happens to Kevin Durant and where he ends up. If it’s in Miami, all bets are off. The Heat would be favored to win it all most likely. There are a handful of teams out West who are going to be better than Boston with Brogdon as well. It’s a great play by Brad Stevens to keep the Celtics in contention for the NBA Finals. That may not be the case each season, though.