NBA Trade Rumors: These great Players could leave from Boston

NBA Trade Rumors: These great Players could leave from Boston

The Boston Celtics were upset in the Eastern Conference Finals by the eighth-seeded Miami Heat 103-84 in their own gym in Game 7 on Monday night, ending a disappointing season for Boston and leaving many offseason questions, with this one at the top: Could star Jayson Tatum be traded?


NBA Betting News: Could Celtics Trade Jayson Tatum Or Jaylen Brown This Offseason?


After helping Boston claw its way back into the series with three straight wins, Tatum turned his ankle on the first play of Game 7 and never looked right after it. While Tatum remained in the game initially, he checked out earlier than usual in the first quarter and was having his ankle worked on while he was on the bench. He did return to the floor at the start of the second quarter, but did not have his usual lift or explosiveness.

“It was frustrating to be a shell of myself,” said Tatum, who struggled to 14 points on 5-for-13 shooting. The Celtics couldn’t run their offense through him, and he couldn’t make his usual impact on the defensive end. Marcus Smart credited Tatum for battling through the injury.

“He hurt his ankle really bad early,” Smart said of Tatum. “He could’ve came out the game. He stayed in, he tried to fight and obviously you could see he wasn’t himself. He wasn’t as explosive. The ankle was really killing him, and he tried to fight. It just didn’t go in his favor. It didn’t go in any of our favors, but we continued just to fight and help him.”

For what it’s worth, Tatum wants to keep playing alongside Brown. The two-time All-NBA first-teamer argued it’s “extremely important” for the Celtics to sign the 2016 first-rounder to a long-term contract extension this summer. Brown, on the other hand, elected not to discuss his future after Boston’s season-ending loss. If the C’s don’t want to pay millions in luxury tax bills, they could deal either Tatum or Brown — hard to trade Brown since he’s due a new deal.

Because he was named second-team All-NBA for the 2022-2023 season, he’s eligible for the $295 million supermax extension starting this summer. It’s a contract he can only receive from the Celtics. If the offer is made, it’s hard to see Brown turning it down but this will be a subplot that lingers until both sides are willing to make a commitment. Brown didn’t help his case in the ECF, when he was more of a hinderance than a help for the majority of the games. Game 7 was particularly rough, with Brown recording as many turnovers (8) as made baskets (8).

Since the NBA instituted the designated veteran extension rule (supermax) in 2017, 11 of the 12 players who met the All-NBA criteria have signed the designated extension. The lone exception was Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio.

The C’s now enter another offseason of wondering what could have been. They surfed the waves of inconsistency throughout the year, then navigated a torrential storm in the playoffs to have a chance to be the first team in NBA history to come back from being down 0-3.

“It’s a pattern that happens with us. We’re going to have to do some soul searching there because some things have to change in that regard,” Al Horford said. “We had a great opportunity and we failed.”

The easy thing to do would be firing coach Joe Mazzulla, the 34-year-old replacement for Ime Udoka. Mazzulla was not ready for this job, but there should never have been any expectation he would be. There are plenty of great coaches who never played in the NBA, but generally they have spent years preparing and learning before they got their shot.

The biggest free agent is restricted Grant Williams. He turned down a four-year extension last October per league sources in hopes of landing a bigger deal but he had an underwhelming second half of the season that included being yanked in and out of Mazzulla’s rotation at various points of the year.

Meanwhile, the Heat will move on to face the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals. Game 1 is scheduled for Thursday night with the Nuggets as -360 series favorites on the NBA odds.


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