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Malcolm in the middle of the Celtics offseason plans

Brogdon was great for the Celtics this year. So why does everyone want to trade him?

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Malcolm Brogdon was just about everything the Celtics could have hoped when Brad Stevens traded for him last offseason. He accepted a role off the bench and excelled in that role to the point of winning 6th Man of the Year. He was 2nd on the team in 3 point shooting at 44.4% (just behind Elite Shooter Al) in the regular season and flirted with another 50%-40%-90% year. He even gave the team another ball handler that could get his shot off when the offense broke down in the playoffs.

So why does it make sense to trade him? (as several experts have suggested) Well, there are a few reasons.

Positional duplication

Adding Brogdon to a backcourt that already included Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, and Payton Pritchard was always an “embarrassment of riches” situation. This became even more apparent once Derrick White started to thrive (essentially having the 3rd best all-around season on the team). The excess of guards and Rob Williams’ injury led Joe Mazzulla to go away from the double big lineups. It also had the collateral damage of burying poor Payton Pritchard on the bench.

Meanwhile, the team needed to lean heavily on Jayson Tatum to handle the bulk of the small forward minutes and we saw a lot of Luke Kornet and Blake Griffin sopping up minutes at center.

Going forward it would make a lot of sense to have one less guard and a little more depth at the wing and big man spots.

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Four Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The new CBA and his salary

In case you haven’t heard, the NBA owners and players association agreed upon a new collective bargaining agreement that has some pretty restrictive penalties for teams with really high payrolls. I won’t go into all the specifics (because math is hard) but the upshot is that NBA teams would be wise to get their books in line this summer so they don’t get backed into uncomfortable salary cap corners next offseason.

Brogdon happens to have a pretty high $22M per year salary (which he earned and deserves) which is third highest on the team. That’s a lot of cash to tie up in a guy that essentially is a luxury on the roster. He also just turned in perhaps his best season and certainly his most healthy one (excepting the end of the playoffs). Trading him this summer would likely be selling high and could provide Brad Stevens an opportunity to balance out the roster better.

So what can the Celtics get in a Malcolm Brogdon trade?

I know how this goes. If I post actual trade ideas, the site will melt down with over-the-top criticisms and nit picking. Well not today! I’m going to sidestep all of that (cop out) by talking in generalities and hand waiving over the details for you all to figure out (and bicker about) in the comments below.

I keep trying to figure out a way to get John Collins to the Celtics using Brogdon’s salary but there are a few problems with that. For one thing, the Hawks have even more guards than the Celtics. So you might need to get a third team involved (which always means “unlikely”). Also, Collins makes even more than Brogdon on a longer deal, so it doesn’t exactly do much to shed salary.

I think my ideal target would be O.G. Anunoby, but if you believe the rumors from the last trade deadline, the price tag on him was at least a couple of first rounders. Even if you assume Brogdon is worth a 1st and attach another first to the deal, I’m not sure what exactly the plan is in Toronto. If they are tearing down, they may just prefer the picks.

I’m sure there are more “big swing” options that you guys can dream up, but those were my first thoughts. So then you start looking at ...less ideal options. Dumping him into space just to cut salary has been suggested by some (perhaps as a way to make it easier to pay Grant Williams?). Or maybe you just go sideways with another less than ideal option.

Don’t tar and feather me, but one name that comes to mind is Gordon Hayward. Sure, he’s going to get hurt at some point, but chances are the same can be said for Brogdon. And Hayward fits a need at the wing. Here again though, I’m not sure if Charlotte needs any more guards.

Speaking of old friends, Brad could all up Danny Ainge and see if Kelly Olynyk would be available. Or perhaps we could see if Dallas is willing to send us Tim Hardaway Jr. who could play a little more on the wing.

The point is that a lot of teams could probably use a 44% shooter and the Celtics could use that opportunity to rebalance the roster. Or maybe they are content to keep Brogdon around because ...well, he shoots 44% and can get his own shot off when he needs to. Perhaps they could just run things back and deal with the cap implications next offseason.

As a bonus, if the Celtics are able to move Brogdon, they might be able to sell Payton Pritchard on an increased role as the 3rd guard. Though it is entirely possible that Payton would just prefer a new situation after a year of being underutilized.

Regardless, the Celtics have some decisions to make this summer and Malcolm Brogdon could be in the middle of a lot of those decisions.

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