Earning 2023 Sixth Man of the Year honors, Brogdon proved the trade made prior to the season was every bit of the value everyone thought it was. He brought depth, ease to the offense and a veteran presence and honesty that the Celtics need.
If not for a partial tendon tear in his right elbow/forearm suffered in Game 1 of the ECF vs the Miami Heat, perhaps the Celtics would be playing in the Finals. But that was the only negative of the trade going into the season. Brogdon’s injury history was well noted and ultimately, he couldn’t finish the season healthy.
Boston Celtics may have to explore trading Malcolm Brogdon
With the Celtics faced with some financial challenges this offseason, the idea of trading Brogdon will come up, especially with the $22.5 million cap hit he carries over the next two seasons of his contract. Celtics president of basketball operations may have to choose between Brogdon, Marcus Smart and Derrick White. Who would be the odd man out?
Brogdon is a suggestion given the injury history, but he is a veteran presence the team needs. He is a player who chose Boston as a trade destination and a player not afraid to speak up when the team is lacking. When asked about what failed the team when they were on the brink of being swept in the ECF, Brogdon was blunt.
"“I think it’s teams that have strong identity,” Brogdon said via ESPN. “I think Miami is one of those teams, one of the few teams in the league – Miami, Denver, there are only a few of them – that have a really strong identity, and they play by it every single night. They’re supper committed to it.“And, for us, our identity has waned all year long. We’ve been trying to figure out who we are, because I think we’re such a great, talented scoring team, but when we don’t make shots, we got to rely on our defense, and our defense isn’t consistent every night.”"
The Boston Celtics went onto tie the series at 3 games apiece, but that lack of identity shined through in Game 7 when the shots weren’t falling. With the ineptitude of the offense came turnovers and easy baskets at the other end by Miami. Due to his injury, Brogdon couldn’t be that player he was all season long. He couldn’t be the point guard who came in to settle things down.
Celtics missed the healthy version of Malcolm Brogdon
While Jayson Tatum struggled due to his own injury and Jaylen Brown had an off night, the notable difference was the absence of a healthy Brogdon, which is why he shouldn’t be a player on the trade block.
That does leave White or Smart and the latter may be the change the Celtics need. Obviously, Stevens is going to make the deal that makes more sense for the team and the salary cap, but when it comes to identity and the veteran leadership a championship caliber team needs, Brogdon has that maturity this Boston Celtics team needs.
Again, as frustrating as the playoffs were, a healthy Brogdon showed how good and deep the team can be. He should be a part of this Boston Celtics team in 2023-24. If Stevens is looking to build an identity for this team around Brown and Tatum, Brogdon is a keeper.