Boston Celtics Trade Grades: Malcolm Brogdon a fantastic pick-up

Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon (7) Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon (7) Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports /

The Boston Celtics have had a relatively quiet start to their offseason. They didn’t do much during the 2022 NBA Draft, and aside from being linked to Danilo Gallinari and mentioned as a team that checked in on Kevin Durant, their name didn’t pop up much when free agency officially opened up on Thursday

That all changed this afternoon when the Celtics pulled off a pretty significant trade for Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon. Brogdon was a trade target I took a look at in the buildup to the draft, as the Pacers were reportedly looking to offload him before or during the draft. After waiting out the draft, Boston was able to get their guy.

Brogdon should be able to slide into a bench unit that faded down the stretch of the 2022 NBA Finals. He fills both of the teams top needs this offseason, as he is a willing passer who can help initiate offense, and a secondary scorer who can help relieve some of the pressure off of Boston’s top players in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Not only did the Celtics land a high-caliber player in Brogdon, they also gave up virtually nothing to get him. They dumped a ton of players that were probably not going to feature in their rotation next season, and ended up getting a guy who will most likely be their sixth man in the process. This is a fantastic trade for the Celtics, so let’s take a closer look as to why that is.

The Boston Celtics may have just solved their bench woes with one big trade

The full terms of the trade cannot be fit into our handy-dandy trade shortcode, partly because of how much the C’s dumped off on the Pacers. The obvious piece is that Boston got Brogdon from the Pacers. In return, they gave Indiana their first round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, along with reserve players Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Nik Stauskas, Juwan Morgan, and Malik Fitts.

On the surface, that seems like an awfully big haul for just Brogdon. But Theis was the only guy somewhat consistently featured in the rotation for the Celtics in the playoffs. All the other guys only hit the court during garbage time. And the 2023 first round pick will most likely come in at the backend of the draft, assuming Boston can go on another deep playoff run next season.

In that case you may be wondering why on earth Indiana would pull the trigger on this trade. They were probably happy to pick up a first rounder and clear some cap space by moving Brogdon. This deal cleared up $10 million in cap space for the Pacers, which would allow them the opportunity to sign a max deal player.

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I’ve already looked at Brogdon’s fit with the team before, so I won’t go super in-depth here, but he’s just what this team needs, and should be a perfect fit off the bench. Boston relied on Derrick White and Payton Pritchard to fill the role Brogdon should be able to fill throughout the playoffs last season. Both guys flamed out in the Finals.

Brogdon can score at all three levels of the floor, and hit his open teammates from the point guard position as well. Brogdon is also a solid defender, which fits the team’s scheme. You can’t really play on Boston anymore if your defense is subpar.

Brogdon will probably either be the team’s sixth man, or depending on the matchup, he could even start if needed too. Brogdon has started every game he played in over the past four seasons, and while that almost certainly won’t be the case in Boston, he figures to be an effective piece of a rotation that came within two wins of a championship last season, and is suddenly vastly improved.


As a Boston Celtics fan, how can you not be in love with this trade? President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens identified bench scoring and playmaking as the C’s two biggest needs heading into the offseason. By acquiring Brogdon, they got a guy who can fill both of those roles.

Not only that, but Stevens also gave up virtually nothing to get Brogdon. Theis was the most featured player in Boston’s rotation last season, but he got played off the court in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat. Nesmith still has some potential admittedly, but he’s  shown no signs of improvement over the first two seasons of his career. The other guys were bench filler.

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This deal firmly solidifies the Boston Celtics bench, and it didn’t cost them much to accomplish it. Brogdon didn’t fit in the team’s big trade exception, which is a bit of a bummer, but that’s really the only downside to this trade. The Celtics are in win-now mode, and this trade has helped them become a far better team, and that’s all you can ask for at this point.