Celtics get: Malcolm Brogdon
Pacers get:Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan, Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, and a 2023 first-round pick.
After All-Star Dejounte Murray, Brogdon is likely the second-best player who has changed teams this NBA offseason. It is an amazing outcome that the Celtics have landed Brogdon just weeks after their loss in the NBA Finals.
Boston ownership had to approve a large luxury tax bill for Brogdon’s addition. The deal added several million to the Celtics payroll, before accounting for the four additional roster spots they will now have to fill. Add Danilo Galinari to the $6.5million taxpayer midlevel exemption after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that he preferred to sign with Boston once he was officially waived by the San Antonio Spurs. The tax will likely push the Celtics into the 20 million range.
Boston’s payroll is modest in comparison to the huge tax bills rung up by Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers. However, it shows a more aggressive approach than what the Celtics used in the past. Brogdon still has two years left on his $22.5 million contract, which was extended last fall. Boston could have a huge payroll by 2024-25 when Jaylen Brown will be up for a new contract.
The Celtics have acquired another player who perfectly fits the bill for that investment. Brogdon could be Boston’s best distributor on offense. According to Second Spectrum tracking, Brogdon’s passer rate of 25.6 shots per 100 possessions was higher than any Celtics player. The team was led by Marcus Smart at 24.8.
Brogdon is able to play off the ball and complement Smart, Brown, and Jayson Tatum by dishing it out. He’s a career 38% 3-point shooter whose diet of attempts beyond the arc should grow closer to what it was in Milwaukee (where 83% of his attempts were assisted, via Basketball-Reference.com) than in Indiana (60%). Brogdon’s career record shows that he has attempted 42% of catch and shoot 3 attempts, compared to 32% for all other players, according to Second Spectrum. Check out the best new sportsbooks for betting on the NBA.
The 6-foot-5 Brogdon will be another physical defender, who is capable of taking on larger opponents. Already, there were few opportunities for opponents to attack the Celtics’ playoff rotations. These options on the perimeter will shrink further if Brogdon replaces the smaller Payton Pritchard or Derrick White.
Ime Udoka, Boston’s coach, may face the greatest challenge: finding enough time to play with Gallinari and Brogdon. This challenge is similar to Brogdon’s greatest weakness, a series injuries that kept him from the court. Brogdon has missed 16 games every season since his rookie year. The Celtics have Pritchard, White and possibly Brogdon in reserve.
Boston sacrificed very little for Brogdon, besides the cost of increasing his salary. Nesmith was the last lottery pick two years ago, largely because of his shooting ability. However, he only made 27% of his 3s last year, making him more of an expensive lotto ticket. The Celtics are happy to get rid of the two years remaining on Theis’ contract, despite their fondness for Nesmith and the role Theis played as a third centre in the playoffs. The non-guaranteed contracts of all the players Boston sent to Indiana were not guaranteed and will need to be guaranteed as matching salaries.
Brogdon’s market fell significantly after the New York Knicks (Jalen Brunson), and Washington Wizards(Monte Morris), filled their points guard needs. While this deal does not yield the draft-pick compensation that the Pacers might have hoped for, I can see Brogdon getting value while it is there.
Brogdon would need to play, having seen action in only eight games since last year’s deal to bring Tyrese Haliburton into Indiana. Haliburton and T.J. McConnell are the two most likely candidates.The Pacers’ future is dependent on Mathurin and Duarte.
Brogdon’s injury history made it difficult to plan for a trade deadline. Brogdon’s value will decline if he is injured and it might be impossible to make a trade in the future so the Pacers had to act now.
It is possible that Indiana could have waited to see if there was a trade market for Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving in order to determine if a multiteam deal would create an opening for a point guard. Indiana must have initiated these conversations within the last 24 hours. He decided that any possibility was not worth it. Check out the best bookmakers for betting on the NBA.
The Pacers have the option to add Nesmith, a Boston draft pick, to their young wins pool and watch his shooting progress. Indiana also created a few million dollars more in cap space and is now able to accept unwanted deals from other teams, despite taking on the Celtics excess contracts as guarantees.
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