Call it luck of the Irish or perhaps fate? The failed trade that would’ve sent Malcolm Brogdon to the Los Angeles Clippers in a three-way deal to bring Kristaps Porzingis to the Boston Celtics will benefit the team best in the 2023-24 NBA season.
That is a tough pill to swallow for Marcus Smart fans who are still trying to get over the gut punch when the Celtics “heart and soul” was sent out in the trade instead. But it was time for Smart to go and if Brad Stevens didn’t feel that the deal wouldn’t have been made.
As for now, Brogdon is still a member of the Celtics and a very important one at that. The reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year lived up to expectation in his first season wearing green. An arm injury stunted his contributions in the playoffs, but don’t get it twisted, Brogdon was a big reason why the Celtics was in the position they were in going into the Eastern Conference Finals, which would’ve made that initial trade tough for Stevens.
Boston Celtics still value the importance of Malcolm Brogdon
In talking about the trade and Brogdon’s role on the team, the Celtics president of basketball operations told NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg that the veteran point guard is still very much valued.
"“Malcolm’s really important and that was tough,” Stevens said. “He certainly doesn’t deserve that. I feel for him and we’ve talked, obviously, since then.”"
Obviously, Brogdon has dealt with trade rumors and have been involved in trades over the past few seasons, but his fit in Boston seemed more long-term. When healthy, Brogdon is that playmaking point guard who comes into the game and calms the offense. Along with that playmaking, his shooting and scoring were valuable coming off the bench and that value will be seen again in 2023-24.
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The main question is that arm injury. Is Malcolm Brogdon damaged goods? Stevens shed some light on that in the interview with Forsberg.
"“There are a lot of narratives out there because of [the failed trade] that certainly are inaccurate,” Stevens clarified. “The bottom line is, right now, he’s going through a period of 4 to 8 weeks where he’s resting and rehabbing [an arm injury], as suggested by our docs, as suggested by the third-party doc that he went to see.“He feels good and we expect him to be back right [at the] start of the season and have the great year that he’s had every year he’s been in the league. So we’re excited about that. But it’s hard for him. That’s the other part, being in the rumors and stuff, that stinks.”"
With all that said, Stevens could turn around and still trade Brogdon. But this Boston Celtics team with a healthy Brogdon and Porzingis is the team to beat in the NBA. In averaging 14.9 points off the bench, Brogdon not only accepted his role as the team’s sixth man, but he also valued that role as his goal coming into the season was to complement Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Although the initial mission was to include Brogdon in the trade for Porzingis, the good fortune in that trade failing is that either the Boston Celtics bring back a solid veteran point guard presence in Brogdon or a different trade involving him can bring back another piece that helps the team get over the hump.
Either way, it will be an interesting summer for the Stevens and the squad he ultimate puts on the court come next season.