Grade the Trade: Celtics deal guard to Clippers in shocking proposal

Boston Celtics, Malcolm Brogdon. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics, Malcolm Brogdon. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

It’s been three weeks since the Boston Celtics nearly traded Malcolm Brogdon to the Los Angeles Clippers, as part of a deal to land Kristaps Porzingis. Boston wound up getting their man, but it came at the expense of longtime guard Marcus Smart, rather than Brogdon.

Since then, it’s been reported that the Clippers have still been eyeing the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, despite pulling out of last month’s deal at the last minute.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley ran with that idea on Thursday, when he wrote up some mock trades for the Celtics — one of which sent Brogdon to the Clippers.

“The Clippers seemingly covet an upgrade at point guard—they’ve also been linked to James Harden—and a healthy Brogdon could do the trick,” Buckley wrote. “He offers a wealth of experience and the ability to impact the game on or off the ball, making him a snug on-paper fit with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.”

“The Celtics, meanwhile, might want more reliability than Brogdon can offer (he’s only played 70 games once) or could think they have enough backcourt depth to get by without him. if they’re willing to let him go, flipping him for wing depth and draft picks could make sense. Batum checks a ton of boxes as a Swiss Army knife, and Covington pairs disruptive defense with a fiery three-ball.”

Should the Boston Celtics be interested in trading Malcolm Brogdon to the Clippers?

No, absolutely not.

For starters, this package just isn’t worth it for the Boston Celtics. They’d be coughing up the league’s best bench player in exchange for two aging wings. Batum, 34, and Covington, 32 are on the back nine of their careers.

Batum is probably the more valuable of the two. A 6’8 wing, who has been a consistently good 3-point shooter for L.A. over the past three seasons, could be useful off of Boston’s bench. Last year, he played about 21.9 minutes each night, over the course of 78 appearances for the Clippers. He averaged 6.1 points on 42.0 percent shooting from the field and 39.1 percent from distance.

Covington has had a strange career since being traded away from the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018. He’s bounced around, eventually sticking with L.A. for the past season and a half. The 32-year-old suited up in just 48 games for the Clippers last season, averaging 16.2 minutes each time. He was good for 6.0 points per game on 44.5 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from 3-point range.

Both players have shown a reliable output offensively but in small bursts. As they age, will they be able to be strong contributors in Boston? It feels like the Celtics would be buying here on the L.A. duo while selling low on Brogdon, who is battling a forearm injury.

Not to mention that the Clippers got cold feet in the initial talks, leaving the C’s with a tough decision on the Smart front. If I’m Brad Stevens, I’m not even picking up the phone there for quite some time.

Final grade for Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Clippers trade: D

None of the pieces that the Boston Celtics would net in this deal would be worth giving up on Brogdon for. He just proved that he can fit well within the team’s rotation. Why create a log jam at the reserve wing spot, after signing Oshae Brissett last week?

Plus, losing Brogdon would leave a gaping hole in the team’s guard rotation, which was one of the deepest in the NBA a few weeks ago.

While there may still be moves left to be made, this one just ain’t it.

For more thoughts on Malcolm Brogdon trade ideas, check out a recent episode of the How ‘Bout Them Celtics Podcast, where CelticsBlog’s Jack Simone and I ponder a pile of mock deals.