With the 2023 NBA Finals wrapped up and the Denver Nuggets taking home their first NBA title in franchise history, the offseason is officially all systems go heading into next season. After a stinging defeat in Game 7 to the Miami Heat, Boston’s historic comeback came up short and left them with an offseason riddled with questions.
What’s going to happen with Jaylen Brown’s supermax extension, and will he say no? Do the Celtics plan on keeping restricted free agent Grant Williams, regardless of the price tag? As the new CBA looms on the horizon, all of the NBA is sure to be making moves with future financial implications in mind, and that’s especially true with the Celtics. Per Brian Robb of MassLive, Boston has already been active, working the phone lines ahead of the 2023 NBA Draft on June 22nd:
The Celtics may not be in the hunt for big names like Bradley Beal ahead of the 2023 NBA Draft but that has not stopped Brad Stevens and the rest of Boston’s front office from seeking out potential upgrades. A league source tells MassLive that the Celtics have been one of the more active teams in the league in trade talks ahead of Thursday’s draft.
The Washington Wizards seem to be finally pulling the trigger on a long overdue rebuild, and with it the return of Bradley Beal trade talks. Of course, Celtics star Jayson Tatum has a well-documented friendship with Beal going all the way back to their childhood in St. Louis, but there’s been no substantiated reports about Boston’s current interest in trading for the longtime Wizard. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has reported that the Celtics aren’t really in on Beal, and would prefer to retain All-NBA star Jaylen Brown by inking him to a supermax extension this summer. Windhorst had also previously reported that if Brown had been voted All-NBA, he would sign an extension this offseason.
The same cannot be said for some other members of the Celtics, specifically in Boston’s backcourt. It’s been reported most recently by The Athletic’s Jay King that Payton Pritchard would ideally be moved this summer in a trade, as he seeks a larger role after being buried in the depth chart behind Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon. Robb further fanned the flames, and suggested that it may not be Payton Pritchard who is moved due to his smaller contract:
Boston only holds the No. 35 overall pick but the team is looking at making potential tweaks to the supporting cast around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The Celtics are particularly loaded in the backcourt with Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Malcolm Brogdon and Payton Pritchard all under contract for next season and the team is investigating moving a guard to improve other areas of the roster per a league source. Pritchard has been open about his desire for more playing time during this past season in Boston or a new home but the Celtics may find more financial flexibility to improve other areas of the roster by moving a higher-paid guard like Smart or Brogdon.
After acquiring him from the Indiana Pacers this past summer, Malcolm Brogdon was an integral part of the Celtics regular season success, and earned himself Sixth Man of the Year for his efforts as a key cog of Boston’s second unit. However, a forearm ligament tear cost Brogdon dearly in the Eastern Conference Finals, and his impact was significantly lessened during the Celtics series against the Heat. While it was a disappointing playoff run for Brogdon, the former Rookie of the Year proved his impact on winning basketball and that might be why the Celtics are looking to move him right now.
In terms of health, this was by far the healthiest and most-productive season Brogdon had gotten under his belt in a long time, even if you include his poorly-timed playoff injury. With a $22.5 million cap hit through 2025 and the new CBA sure to be difficult, Brogdon’s value may never be this high again. After buying low on him last offseason, Boston should look to move Brogdon to shore up depth on other spots on the roster while also clearing a path for Payton Pritchard to have a role again. It might also give Derrick White a chance for a bigger role after an excellent season with the Celtics.
While it’s uncertain if Brogdon had been mentioned in any talks, Pistons beat writer James L. Edwards III of The Athletic echoed the same news about the Celtics being active on the trade market. Edwards reported that Boston as well as other teams have contacted Detroit about center Isaiah Stewart, but also said that the Pistons were unlikely to move the rugged big man.
With only a week between the Celtics and draft night, there’s certainly going to be chatter growing louder and louder around the league.