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The Boston Celtics Should ABSOLUTELY NOT Trade Jaylen Brown… Yet.

The 2020/21 Boston Celtics team needs to add scoring. There’s no debate.

Even with Kemba Walker returning to the lineup — the trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Walker, along with Marcus Smart as the swing “sixth-man” style-fourth option, will almost certainly prove not consistently-potent enough to advance Boston past their usual Eastern Conference Finals floor/ceiling which they’ve established over the past half-decade. The question isn’t if they need to level up, it’s what can and should Boston do to advance their position?

What seems to be the consensus amongst both main-stream and social-media pundits is the idea of trading Jaylen Brown, the second most overall-promising prospect on the Celtics. An emerging fifth-year lottery pick who narrowly missed last years all-star selection, and is in prime position to snatch his first as Boston’s secondary option for the foreseeable future, Brown’s progression has been relatively linear, more-so practically than statistically speaking.

Between Brown’s intangibles, skillset, and remaining-untapped potential, it simply doesn’t make sense for the Celtics to package him in any realistic trade offer the Celtics would receive that includes him. The fact that the Celtics are finally fresh out of their usual-chest of acquired-future-draft capital puts them at a disadvantage in the trade-market for teams looking to offload their all-star and begin rebuilding (negating the chance of a KG for Al Jefferson level-swindling). Though it is true that Jaylen Brown is an ideal prospect that teams looking to rebuild would hope to acquire, given that Tatum is considered off the market, he’s still quite young, as well as what’s already been mentioned about him above.

With that said, I don’t think anyone who’s closely monitored the maturation of Jaylen Brown and has a proficient understanding of the NBA trade-market believes his value has peaked. Along with that, if you take Brown off this roster, the Celtics aren’t one star away from true title contention (assuming Giannis, AD, Luka, and Jokic aren’t for sale). Why would any competitive team trade away their second-most-important piece when they’re only one piece away from true contention if they’re able to keep their core intact?

I consider that core to be Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, of whom the latter two currently sport incredibly team-friendly contracts. Which brings me to my next point — Jaylen Brown’s contract is too good to let go of at this point in time. Don’t believe me? Here’s the list of players whose annual salaries are comparable:

https://www.aeecenter.org/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon.pdf
https://www.aeecenter.org/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon-tbs.pdf
https://www.ica.org/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon-tbs03.pdf
https://www.ica.org/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon02.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon02.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon-tbs.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon-tbs02.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon-tbs03.pdf
https://www.ica.org/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking.pdf
https://www.ica.org/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking04.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking03.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking02.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking04.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking.pdf

Gordon Hayward — $28,500,000(yikes), Otto Porter Jr. — $28,489,238 (double yikes), DeMar DeRozan — $27,739,975, Steven Adams — $27,528,088 (big yikes), Al Horford — $27,500,000 (No comment), Jrue Holiday — $25,876,111, Buddy Hield — $24,931,818, JAYLEN BROWN$23,735,119, Harrison Barnes — $22,215,909, Fred VanVleet — $21,250,000, four-fifths of the Indiana Pacers starting-five, Gary Harris — $19,610,714, Danilo Gallinari — $19,500,000, Jerami Grant — $19,050,000, Tim Hardaway Jr. — $18,975,000, Terry Rozier — $18,900,000. (per spotrac).

Looking at this list, it’s tough to find a better contract in terms of both current and future-potential value. Brown seems to earn in the market-range of players who took a little over market-value to play for non-contending, small-to-mid-market franchises. Conversely, Brown is either fairly or underpaid depending on your view of his potential, and while Boston isn’t the most desirable market for athletes, it’s still considered a large market team, especially relative to many of the teams hosting comparable contracts.

I’m not saying the Celtics should necessarily wait until the Brown-Tatum duo flares out, but that if they’re are ever going to trade Brown, his current return-value is almost certainly at its floor, and if the Celtics are seriously trying to build a perennial-title contender, their best option is to allow Brown’s play and contract to appreciate before doing so. We’re talking about an NBA free agent market for wings that’s so dry that Charlotte just opted to give Gordon Hayward a max contract…

https://www.aeecenter.org/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon.pdf
https://www.aeecenter.org/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon-tbs.pdf
https://www.ica.org/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon-tbs03.pdf
https://www.ica.org/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon02.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon02.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon-tbs.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon-tbs02.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/new-year-marathon-tbs03.pdf
https://www.ica.org/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking.pdf
https://www.ica.org/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking04.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking03.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking02.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking04.pdf
https://cawp.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/webform/69th-new-years-racewalking.pdf

With the value of wing players bound to increase over the next three seasons, the Celtics trading Jaylen Brown for anything less than a huge upgrade would reek of desperation. It would be like a poker player going all-in with an average-pocket pair because they’re low on chips. The Celtics aren’t low on chips, though, they’re more like the quiet person at the table who’s been steadily building their stack all game. Do they look like the obvious choice to win? Not at this point in time, but if they’re patient, prudent, and stealthy over the next few seasons, they could easily find themselves a-top the NBA throne.

One must understand that Boston’s potential to remain a top-tier market destination over the future is contingent on both the state of their roster relative to the rest of the NBA, and the perception of being a player-friendly franchise from both a cultural and organizational standpoint. This is not to say that the Celtics can bask in the moral victory of their successful internal-player development, but they should at the very least appreciate and maximize it.

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