What Do Celtics Fans Think Of This Hypothetical Jaylen Brown-To-Memphis Trade?

Let's get weird


Dec 31, 2021

If the Boston Celtics decide they’re broken beyond repair, it might be Jaylen Brown who ultimately has a new address.

The C’s are obviously shorthanded at the moment, as COVID-19 has taken a toll on the Green. However, there hasn’t been a ton to inspire short- or long-term confidence about the future of this core, meaning some difficult decisions could be on the way.

Brown has long been thought to be untouchable, but team president Brad Stevens gets paid a lot of money to make difficult roster decisions, and trading Brown certainly would qualify as such. It might also be the best, most productive way to shake things up and not completely tear it all down.

If Boston considered trading Brown, there would be plenty of interest. ESPN’s Zach Lowe talked with Jeff Van Gundy about potential trade scenarios on the most recent “Lowe Post” podcast. The most intriguing deal — in Lowe’s eyes, at least — would be a blockbuster move between the Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies.

“What if Memphis was like, ‘We’re all in. We think we’re ready to take the next big step.’ We’ve seen them take swings at big wings before as the third cog, whether it’s Justise Winslow or the kid they just drafted Ziaire Williams, who’s not playing right now. What if they went to Boston and said, ‘You can’t have Jaren Jackson Jr. We understand you’re going to want (him), maybe you’re going to hang up the phone — fine, we get it. What if we give you Ziaire Williams, Desmond Bane, De’Anthony Melton, pick a salary filler, three first-round picks and a couple of swaps?'”

So, to recap, the trade would look something like this:

Memphis acquires: Jaylen Brown
Boston acquires: Ziaire Williams, Desmond Bane, De’Anthony Melton, “salary filler,” three first-round picks, multiple pick swaps

Obviously, that’s a rough draft. The two teams would have to make the money work, assuming the deal even worked for everyone. If Van Gundy were calling the shots in Memphis, he might be looking in other places to improve an up-and-coming Grizzlies team.

“I just don’t think you can strip your team down to nothing,” Van Gundy said. “When (Ja) Morant is out, Tyus Jones played terrific basketball. They have depth. … If they made another trade like that, first of all, I don’t think they’re ready to ascend past the other teams, but I’m not even sure whether they’re even better.”

Be that as it may, it’s an interesting thought experiment for open-minded Celtics fans. Lowe, of course, is just throwing around various ideas, but this sort of blockbuster represents an option for a team like Boston. Another option, as Lowe notes, is a more traditional one-for-one swap for another star player. He mentioned Bradley Beal, Damien Lillard and Ben Simmons as options in that regard.

A Celtics-76ers trade involving Brown and Simmons would be fascinating, as discussed Thursday on NESN.com. But a one-for-one deal probably isn’t going to get a deal done from Boston’s point of view.

“My read on that situation all along is, Boston watched the playoffs and played Philadelphia in the playoffs with Ben Simmons, has access to the film of Ben Simmons melting into a quivering pile of sweat under the basket against the Hawks and would say ‘We need more stuff to trade you Jaylen Brown,’ ” Lowe said. “I still think finding the right deal would be hard there.”

For now, this is all fantasy land. The Celtics’ best path to contention probably involves Brown and Jayson Tatum leading the way. But as Lowe said, it’s no longer a “third-rail topic” to discuss trading Brown, a concession from a smart, respected basketball mind that is quite telling about the evolving perception regarding the Celtics.

Thumbnail photo via Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports Images
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