Two teams that receive a ton of interest on a weekly basis are the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers. The Celtics are one of the most storied franchises in American sports, having some of the greatest teams come together in Boston including the Bill Russell-led squads that won multiple championships. But the last time the franchise won a title was in 2008, meaning 13 empty seasons have passed.
Similarly, the Trail Blazers have had some excellent teams throughout their history including the Clyde Drexler-led squads that made the Finals and also Scottie Pippen’s crew in the late 1990s. But they have not been able to capitalize on the brilliance of their superstar player, Damian Lillard, suffering multiple first-round exits in the playoffs. Clearly, something needs to change in Portland and it might have to happen fast.
The Celtics have a solid team put together but do not have enough to contend. That means a 25-year old All-Star in Jaylen Brown might be used as bait for one of the best point guards in the NBA. Damian Lillard is not going to win in Portland, and the sooner he realizes this, the sooner he will be ready to move on. A deal that involves Brown and 2-time All-Defensive Team performer Marcus Smart for Lillard, makes sense for both teams. Lillard is 31 and not getting younger, while the Celtics need to make a deal for a superstar before their window for doing so passes them by.
Here is how a blockbuster deal involving the Celtics and Trail Blazers can go down.
Trade Package: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, 2024 First-Round Pick, 2025 First-Round Pick For Damian Lillard
Boston Celtics Powerful Duo - Damian Lillard And Jayston Tatum
For years, the Boston Celtics had the best trade packages for some of the top stars in the game. They made the deal for Kyrie Irving in 2018, but everyone knew the point guard was not enough to make the team title contenders. In an era with superteams, a player with special talent is needed to take a team over the top. Not to mention, Kyrie hardly played for the franchise and lacked leadership.
With the likes of Anthony Davis and Paul George available, Boston could not pull the trigger on a deal. Even Jimmy Butler was available, but once again, the Celtics were too keen on hoarding their draft assets. If Damian Lillard becomes available, the Celtics must take a huge gamble by trading their All-Star swingman, Jaylen Brown, because the pressure will be on if they don’t.
As things stand, the Celtics are not expected to make the Eastern Conference Finals and that is an issue. Tatum is a legitimate superstar, and a duo with Damian Lillard would be a very difficult one to stop. Tatum has gotten off to a great start, averaging 26.6 PPG, but the team is 2-3 so far. Even though Lillard is only averaging 17.8 PPG through 4 games, there are no doubts about his clutch shot-making and ability to dominate defenses, making him a player the Celtics could use to push for the Eastern Conference Finals.
Jaylen Brown is a sensational player who looks primed for another All-Star appearance, but he will likely never be as great as Damian Lillard, a player who is regarded as one of the greatest 75 players ever. A risk to trade their All-Star for Lillard could pay off now because their current crop of talent will not get the job done in the near future.
Portland Pull The Plug On A Mediocre Squad And Focus On Draft-Picks
The Trail Blazers receive a ton of media noise thanks to Damian Lillard. The point guard has been a top-2 player in his position for the past few years, but the team has not been good enough as a whole. CJ McCollum is a great scorer, but the miniature shooting guard is limited on what he can do on the floor besides getting buckets. Jusuf Nurkic is hardly healthy, and the team lacks defensive stoppers outside of Robert Covington.
If Portland start losing games and the pressure of Lillard’s presence starts growing again, getting back Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart is a tremendous return. While neither player can replace Lillard’s impact, they bring a defensive mindset that could help McCollum prosper. With Lillard gone and a 25-year old All-Star in his place, the team rebuilds with a solid group of talent without the pressure of contending every year.
The Trail Blazers talk a big game (thanks to Lillard), but nobody believes they are title contenders in any way. Letting their 31-year old superstar leave will hurt, but it must be done to avoid another James Harden or Ben Simmons scenario. Acquiring Jaylen Brown means the Trail Blazers can focus on his development while tanking seasons for draft picks. Brown could headline a rebuilding squad and with a ton of young talent available in the coming drafts, the future could be brighter for Portland than it is right now.