As the NBA preseason came to a close Friday night, there’s already possible player movement even before a single second of meaningful basketball. The Athletic’s Sam Amick is reporting that the Indiana Pacers have engaged several teams in trade talks for their 23-year-old big man, Domantas Sabonis.
While the Celtics aren’t mentioned, there’s always been smoke around a potential swap of the 2016 draftees. Boston has an overabundance of wings and Indiana already extended Myles Turner last October. Behind the scenes, it seems as though both players and their respective front offices are at an impasse on a new deal with Monday’s deadline looming.
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported earlier in the week that the Celtics have offered Brown a 4-year, $20 million extension. Danny Ainge refuted that story on his weekly appearance on 98.5 The SportsHub’s Toucher & Rich Show and said that “the negotiations are going well.”
If the Celtics can’t come to terms with Brown before October 21st, they’ll still have his rights during Jaylen’s restricted free agency in July and can match any offer sheet he signs. However, if they don’t see a reasonable conclusion on the horizon, would Danny Ainge consider trading for Sabonis?
He shouldn’t. There’s no doubt that Sabonis is one of the brightest young men in the game today. The 6’11 Lithuanian has steadily improved between Oklahoma City and Indiana and for what it’s worth, after a pre-draft workout with the Celtics, he said that his father’s favorite team was Boston. Arvydas Sabonis was a big Larry Bird fan, too.
However, Brown’s ceiling is just higher than Sabonis’. If his summer with Team USA and performance in the preseason is any indication, Brown has expanded his game. Brown is still a lock down defender, but he’s shown enough versatility that he can play as a power forward and his improved handle and shot making around the rim have complemented a more aggressive approach off the dribble.
Considering the makeup of the rest of the roster, not only do the Celtics have a current logjam at the 5 with veterans Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter likely to soak up most of the minutes at center to start the season, but they have three young players waiting in the wings in Robert Williams, Grant Williams, and Vincent Poirier.
In terms of the bigger picture, there’s also the intriguing pairing of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and what that could mean for the foundation of the franchise. The NBA game has moved to the perimeter of the floor and this dynamic duo could be the future of the Eastern Conference with current contenders Milwaukee and Philadelphia opting to bulk up on the front line.