The recently eliminated Boston Celtics are in for a long off-season. They need to reflect on their up-and-down postseason, while the front office may very well face a handful of significant decisions in personnel changes, one of which includes their key swingman, Jaylen Brown. 

Talks that the Celtics may consider trading the 26-year-old have been loud since the team’s playoff exit. It’s also getting hyped by the fact that he will be on an expiring contract next season (he is owed $31.8 million for 2023-24). A potential trade comes at a critical juncture in Brown’s career since his All-Star selection last February made him eligible for the super max extension, which could land him a staggering 5-year, $295 million deal.

Brown’s performance during the 2022-23 campaign was undoubtedly impressive. While playing for the only top five offensive and defensive team in the league for the season, he achieved career-highs of 26.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game on 49.1% shooting, rightfully earning him first All-Star nod and mixing himself alongside the most talented scorers in the league. His contributions were vital in helping the Celtics finish second in the East at 57-25, remain as a serious title contender, and advance to their third Eastern Conference Finals in four years.

However, it was during the Eastern Conference Finals that Brown’s performance became a point of contention among fans, including a chunk of Celtic diehards. He struggled mightily in the do-or-die Game 7, shooting an abysmal 8-of-23 from the floor and committing eight costly turnovers. It was a disappointing performance that came when the team needed him to step up, as leading scorer Jayson Tatum was playing with a sprained left ankle.

Here’s Brown’s offensive regression in the ECF: 19.0 points on 41.8% shooting, including a dreadful 16.3% from beyond the arc – he was a combined 7-of-44 in the series.

Many had high hopes for Brown given his stellar regular season, and expected him to carry the team while Tatum is in limited capacity – something that he has done in the past. Unfortunately, though, the Game 7 dud wasn’t his first time laying an egg on such an important game, so frustration among Celtic fans is understandable. 

As we’ve all been accustomed to, when such things happen, trade ideas come in bunches and they get passed around fast. You can’t deny the fun in crafting blockbuster trades, though, and that it’s intriguing to envision big names in new places. Nevertheless, a Jaylen Brown trade is not that far-fetched. A ton happened and it’s possible the team’s management could entertain offers.

On one hand, Brown’s potential is undeniable. He has shown significant growth throughout his career and has the skills and athleticism to become a perennial All-Star. The Celtics might be hesitant to part ways with such a talented player, especially considering his young age and the possibility of securing a lucrative contract extension.

On the other hand, the Celtics need to assess if Brown’s underwhelming performance in the playoffs is a sign of a larger issue and if it’s worth the risk moving forward. They may be looking at a player who is too clunky to be relied upon in high-pressure situations – even if he is really able to, they will also need to think about the true compatibility of his supposed star tandem with Tatum. It has long been floated that the two are redundant given they are both athletic, high-scoring forwards.

Additionally, the financial implications of Brown’s super max extension cannot be ignored, as it could have long-term implications for the team’s salary cap flexibility.

It is worth mentioning that NBA trade talks are always too complex and involve numerous factors. If the Celtics do decide to explore a trade involving Brown, though, expect them to seek a package that addresses their immediate needs while also providing young assets, possibly high lottery picks – getting both are doable considering what Brown offers and how good Boston’s front office is. In that regard, plenty of lottery teams may keep us thinking a whole lot on the way to the draft.

Maybe The Ringer’s idea for Anfernee Simons and the No. 3 pick is truly worth a hard look?