Celtics Lead

3 Potential Trades for Jaylen Brown

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With the 2018-19 NBA season in the rearview mirror, so is the drama for the Boston Celtics.

Or so we thought…

As the new season quickly approaches, Celtics fans were slapped across the face with another disappointing headline. Jaylen Brown wants a pay raise, and a significant one at that. According to an article by Hunter Felt of Forbes, Brown feels comfortable asking for a five-year, max extension.

Brown is a fan favorite in Boston, but few fans would agree that he’s worth that kind of money. To this point, Brown has averaged 11.2 points (PPG), 4.0 rebounds (RPG) and 1.3 assists (APG) per game. He’s probably worth more than the roughly $6.5 million he’s getting paid now, but definitely not worth the $169 million he could get with a max extension.

Neither Brown nor the Celtics have given clear answers on the status of his contract extension. Both sides remain quiet when speaking to reporters, and both have expressed there hasn’t been much progress made internally. As extension talks continue to stall, the Celtics would be wise to look into potential trades should the two sides not be able to agree on terms. Here are three players the Celtics could pursue in potential trades for Brown (and other assets).

1. Robert Covington

Robert Covington is a career role-player, exactly what Brown has been to this point. In his six-year career, twice that of Brown, Covington has put up similar numbers. To this point, he’s averaged 12.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 1.6 APG in his career.

He was his most productive last season, in which he split time with the Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves. He averaged 13.3 PPG on 43.1 percent shooting, both career highs. His shooting percentage is still two ticks lower than Brown’s career low, which is concerning, but there’s reason to believe with better talent around him, he’d continue improving.

Not only that, but Covington’s effective field goal percentage (EFG%) was significantly higher than Brown’s last season. Covington finished with an EFG% of 54.8 in his limited action. Brown clocked in at just 52.5.

Covington doesn’t add anything too significant to the Celtics, he just fills a gap that would be left by Brown’s departure. He could seemingly slide into the Celtics’ offense and produce just as Brown did with few hiccups. His career defensive rating of 105 is preferable to that of Brown’s 107, and his contract spans the next four seasons. If the Celtics want experience, potential and defense, Covington is a viable option.

2. Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday

The Pacers just acquired Jeremy Lamb this summer, so this deal may be trickier to pull off. There’s no way the Celtics manage to land both of these players for just Brown in return, so General Manager and President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge would have to get creative in his pitch to Indiana. It doesn’t hurt that former Celtic and teammate Larry Bird is still advising over in Indiana, though.

Lamb adds similar value to the Celtics that Covington would, but not quite as much. It’s clear that Brown is the better player of the two and has plenty more upside – Brown has played three years to Lamb’s seven.

Still, Lamb provides value to a team. Last season Lamb shot 34.8 percent from three, and 37 percent the season before. The league average in 2018-19 was 35.5 percent, so Lamb is hovering right about where he’s expected to. In terms of field goal percentage, his first four years in the league Lamb was a 41.3 percent shooter. However, his 45.2 percent over the last three seasons is much more telling of the player he’s become.

Still, he leaves more to be desired for the cost of Brown. That’s where Justin Holiday comes in. By no means is Holiday the player that Brown is. In his career, he averages just 8.1 PPG on 39 percent shooting … ouch.

But, Holiday is in the NBA for a reason. He’s shown flashes of what he’s capable of, including two seasons of playing a full 82 games, averaging 76 over the past three seasons. In his second season, Holiday allowed just 101 points per 100 possessions, an impressive mark for such a young player. If Holiday can return to that form and stay on the court, he could be a valuable addition to Boston’s bench.

3. Cam Reddish

Woah, Cam Reddish hasn’t even played an NBA game yet. He started last season as the third highest recruit and dropped all the way to 10th in the draft. He was underwhelming at Duke, where R.J. Barrett and Zion Williamson’s performances outshined his own.

But let’s look at the grand scheme of things. A bad year at school, especially one with two other stars, isn’t enough to write off Reddish. Comparing the two coming out of high school, Reddish still has greater potential than it seems Brown did.

ESPN’s scouting report of Reddish mentioned that, “he owns legitimate guard skills, handles well, and can make plays for himself and others both in the open floor as well as off-ball screens.” He had fewer opportunities to do any of that at Duke, but in a system with trusting veterans and an intelligent head coach he could flourish in those areas once again.

Reddish enters the league with better tools and touch than Brown did. His issue is knowing how to best take advantage of them, an area head coach Brad Stevens can help in. Stevens draws comparisons to legendary Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, and if he wants to prove he can be just as great, turning Reddish into a star would be a great way to do so.

Brown’s career defensive rating of 107 leaves a lot to be desired. While Reddish isn’t touted as an elite defender, he has all the tools to become one. Boston has been one of the best defensive teams in recent years, and playing in that system could go a long way for Reddish’s development. If Boston wants a long-term solution to the potential departure of Brown, Reddish would be a great place to start looking.

*All player statistics gathered using Basketball Reference. All monetary statistics gathered using Spotrac. Follow us on Twitter @CelticsLead for the latest Celtics news and insight.

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About Jared Penna

Jared was born and raised in central Massachusetts and is currently studying journalism at Quinnipiac University. Currently writes for TLSM's Celtics Lead branch.

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