How the Celtics could pair Jayson Tatum with Bradley Beal without giving up Jaylen Brown

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Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal are close friends who grew up together. They are also spending a lot of time together on Team USA this summer.

It doesn’t take long to figure out where minds are going to go here. So let’s talk about it.

Could they team up in Boston? Sure. Anything could happen. But how? That’s the harder question.

The easy answer is that Beal makes it clear to the Wizards that he wants to be traded and prefers to be traded to Boston. The Celtics could beat most offers for him by including Jaylen Brown. I get the feeling that nobody in the organization is overly eager to give up one of their “pillars” so quickly, even if it means bringing in one of the top stars in the league.

So what other options do the Celtics have? Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports maps out a few scenarios. One of which includes trading just about every valuable asset the Celtics have besides Tatum and Brown:

The Celtics would instead offer packages that offer some combination of draft capital, young talent, and future financial flexibility. For example, Boston could build a package starting with something like three future first-round picks, some pick swaps, Al Horford (and his partially guaranteed 2022-23 salary), and Aaron Nesmith.

Depending on how Boston’s current offseason plays out, there could be other iterations like bundling picks, a re-signed Evan Fournier, and an extended Marcus Smart to make salaries match. The point here: Boston will have multiple ways to construct a deal.

That makes sense from the Celtics perspective. The question is if the Wizards would be amenable to that. If they even decide to move on from Beal (not a given) they would certainly canvas the league for bids. There are teams out there with dozens of future picks that could make things very interesting in a bidding war.

Of course Beal could make it obvious that his list of preferred teams (ones he would be willing to re-sign with after his contract expires) is limited to the Celtics and a few other teams that don’t have the assets to outbid Boston. Again, I don’t know if Beal would take the Anthony Davis route, but I guess you never know.

The other route is to be patient and wait for Beal to become a free agent. Stevens talked so lovingly of the “financial flexibility” achieved in the Al Horford deal that you have to wonder if this is an outcome they have their eye on.

The problem there is creating enough cap space to sign a max contract guy. And that would mean dumping a whole lot of salaries, including Smart, Horford, Fournier (if he’s re-signed), and probably Robert Williams as well. The logistics of finding homes for all those guys without taking back salary would seem problematic.

In general this whole thing is giving me flashbacks to the year-plus courtship for Gordon Hayward based on the relationship he had with Brad Stevens. I guess you could say that worked out, until it didn’t.

Beal and Tatum have been friends for forever and nothing is going to change that. They have every opportunity to hang out with each other in the offseasons or at All-Star events. It isn’t a given that they’ll insist on playing together in the same city.

But anything is possible.

The bottom line is that if everyone involved wants to make this happen, there are ways to get Bradley Beal to Boston. But it wouldn’t be easy or without considerable cost.


All hinges on Beal

All that has to happen is an agreement in Tokyo. Then Beal notifies the Wiz that he won’t be opting in or extending and furthermore indicates to the league he’ll only commit to an extension with Boston. If Boston maintains a reasonable path to a max slot for 2022-23 the rest of the league is now rolling the dice on acquiring Beal for 2021-22. C’s then need to come with a solid offer of cap relief, some decent youth talent, and a number of FRP. The game being scaring off other teams who would need to really think twice about giving up their young all-star caliber player or multiple decent young prospects and multiple FRP to ‘out bid’ the C’s.

I’m thinking, if above scenario plays out, the following could close the deal:

Smart, Thompson, Nesmith, Rob Williams, 3 FRP (2023, 2025, 2027)

Then if still resign Fournier and have Big Al around you’ve got a very competitive core to enter into a championship contention window.

If doable

I would include a sign and trade of Fournier instead of Smart in the package, with all the offensive power that Js + Beal would give, I feel we’d be needing a lock on defense and primary distributor more than an extra shooter. … but whatever to have this big 3 would be really something and a great start for Ime-Brad era.

You hit on a very key point to making this happen. Maintain a credible path to a max slot.

We don’t have to have it, but we need to show a reasonable path to get there if we want to that the Wizards know we can achieve. That’s why the Kemba trade was so important, Al gets much cheaper in a year.

With that leverage it then all shifts to Beal. If he shows willingness to simply ride it out and then sign with Boston as a FA (with Tatum telling him what’s up as a tamper proof medium) then the Wiz have to make a move or lose him for nothing.

This is a fantasy idea, but has a lot more cred than most because of the Tatum – Beal connection and now Ime gets a bonding period with Beal on Team USA to seal the deal.(in a non tampering sort of way…)

Yes. It will all come down to what Beal wants and if he wants it, being decisive and clear about it so that it happens.

Is Beal so good that we would really want to give up that much for him?

I get the various reasons to let go on each of Rob, Smart, Thompson and then to give them frp’s also. But Nesmith could be very good and that’s 3 frp’s and do folks here think Beal is really that great?

Of course the Celts should do it, that is not a valuable package

I don't think that is enough for Washington to do the deal, honestly.

If we don’t include Brown, they can/will likely find a better offer.

The only way a trade for Beal gets down without Brown is if Beal sorta holds Washington hostage by saying "I only want to go to Boston, I'll only sign longterm with Boston"

Then the Wizards basically have no choice but to either take what we’re offering, or they lose him for nothing once he declines his player option. Because then they still could take the best package, but then it becomes a Kawhi to Toronto situation where Beal essentially becomes a mercenary for a year before entering free agency.

Now obviously, the worst case scenario would be Beal gets traded somewhere, actually likes it there, and signs long term while whispering to Tatum "hey, forget Boston, come play here."

The Raptors stil traded for Kawhi knowing that he wanted to go to LA in a year

so I’m not at all as confident as so many here are that other teams would be reluctant to bid on Beal. I also wonder if Beal saying out loud that he would only sign long term with us would provoke some kind of response from the league. I can’t imagine Silver can abide this long term, the big stars all only willing to play in a few sexy markets, to the detriment of all the small market teams.
It’s why I’m positively giddy that it is 2 small market teams in the Finals.

True, the Raptors did trade for Kawhi knowing it would probably be a one year rental

But they really didn’t give up that much, the trade was Kawhi and Danny Green for DeRozan, Poetl and one protected first round pick. And Toronto was already at the end of the line with the DeRozan and Lowry pairing, which had repeatedly failed in the playoffs.

Toronto got lucky that they were dealing with a team that didn’t want to go into a rebuild (even though they should have), probably because of Pop’s age. So the Spurs made a pretty poor trade hoping to still be competitive with DeRozan. If the Wizards trade Beal, they will be going into a full rebuild and will look for picks and young players.

The best package the Celts can offer, i.e. absolutely everything EXCEPT Tatum and Brown, is worth less than DeRozan + Poeltl + 1 FRP

getting rid of DeRozan's contract

is the main reason why Toronto made the trade even if Kawhi made it clear that he wanted to go to LA.

I don't think that's true, I think that championship that they won is the main reason why the Raps made that trade

The assumption is

That Beal is not willing to commit to an extension with Washington and neither with the eventual teams willing to present better offers.
If these conditions don’t check out, surely the package could be outbid or would be simply turned down.

Very true

needs to be a Beal power play of sorts.

Yes this is absolutely the only way it happens

Do we call it "the full AD", or is it so common that it doesn’t even require a namesake?

More of a ‘full KG’.

Well let them go with the other offers then.

Impactful two way wings are the most valuable commodity in the NBA and we have two that are All Stars and under 25. Why in the world would you trade one for a 6’3" offense only chucker?

If there’s a reasonable way to land Beal because he wants to come here, great. But don’t tear the team apart for a guy who won’t make us appreciably better if JB is the cost of acquisition.

Despite the title of this article

I don’t have any better idea than before as to how the Celtics can acquire Beal. Can you lay out the options with player dollars attached to show what combinations of players would need to go out in order to bring Beal’s salary in, just from a salary cap standpoint? Can we assume that the Celtics will be paying the luxury tax for the foreseeable future and that in addition to that the repeater tax at some point? Or, based on what you know, is the owners’ desire to avoid that going to stand in the way of fielding a competitive roster? Also, won’t the salary cap be going up at some point? How does that factor into this?

poorly titled, my bad

obviously there are dozens of permutations on trades and free agent maneuverings
this article was really meant to outline the framework and results of any potential acquisition of Beal

perhaps someone can work out some examples to work out the finer details like you mentioned – that’s a good idea for a future article


Forsberg is obsessed with the priority of getting a 3rd star; he writes about it incessantly. Unfortunately, his proposals have no more credence than some of the wacky ideas thrown out on Fanposts here, and lamentably appear as magical thinking. Tatum and Beal come from the same high school, yet prior to being on Team USA now they have never, ever been on the court together on the same team. We are going to build a franchise around being hellbent to make this happen? Why? Yeah, Kyrie was injured and Harden not at full strength, but the BIG 3 didn’t convey into a championship for the Nets this year, and maybe never. But I admit, I think Beal is a self-absorbed player who is willing to stay on a team going nowhere that affords him superstar status.

Nothing real to talk about on Celticsblog today

Tomorrow probably won’t be any better

Go Red Sox

Red sox are blazing hot right now....

…except for that series downer against the Angels

Lot of close games

Got bitten in LA, but fantastic record in 1-run games overall

So far

We’ll see if Sale can get back and be good

Probably a very very small chance either Beal or Lillard get traded but neither is out right denying anything this summer which is unlike previous ones where they flat-out said they did not want to go anywhere
Just saying

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