Celtics

ESPN’s Zach Lowe doesn’t think Celtics will trade Jaylen Brown for Bradley Beal

Adrian Wojnarowski appeared to agree with Lowe's statement.

Bradley Beal, Jaylen Brown
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal dribbles the ball against Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown. AP Photo/Nick Wass

The Celtics have long had rumored interest in Wizards star Bradley Beal, but if the price is Jaylen Brown, two ESPN analysts don’t seem to think a trade is likely.

Beal reportedly might request a trade from the Wizards after several uninspiring seasons, and the Celtics — who employ his childhood best friend Jayson Tatum — are a team he would like to join.

Getting Beal to Boston might not be easy, however. On Sunday, ESPN analyst Zach Lowe joined NBA news breaker Adrian Wojnarowski for a chat in which they discussed potential trade packages.

“Is Boston going to offer Jaylen Brown? I don’t think so,” Lowe said, while Wojnarowski shook his head in agreement. “To me there’s not much point in giving up one star for another, if you’re Boston.”

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Lowe noted that several teams who could target Beal in trade talks might not have ideal assets available — the Warriors have a pair of middling lottery pick and some young pieces, while the Miami Heat could offer Tyler Herro, whose trade value plummeted this season.

The Celtics have clear incentive to pursue Beal in some capacity. Last year’s team struggled to coax double-teams away from Tatum, and Beal would accomplish that almost single-handedly. Tatum and Beal’s relationship is well documented — the duo grew up together in St. Louis and have been close friends for years. Whenever they play together — in the Olympics before Beal had to leave due to COVID-19, as well as this past season’s All-Star game — both admit that it’s a big deal.

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“Two guys from the same neighborhood, the same high school going to the Olympics from St. Louis, that’s like a dream,” Tatum said recently. “That is amazing.”

But as Lowe noted, trading Brown is a big ask. Beal is a free agent next offseason, and while pairing Tatum and Beal might be enough to keep Beal’s attention, the Celtics might be gun shy about losing another big-name acquisition.

And, of course, Brown is a highly valuable player — a rising star who gets better every season on a team-friendly contract who won’t hit free agency again until 2024. A first-time All-Star this past season, Brown averaged 24.7 points and 6.4 rebounds while shooting 39.7 percent from 3-point range.

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The Celtics likely won’t be able to piece together a particularly compelling package without Brown. Other teams will have a lot of interest in Beal, and the Celtics have little other marquee talent. New President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens can’t even offer a 2021 pick after he included the No. 16 selection in the trade that sent Kemba Walker to the Thunder for Al Horford.

Still, Stevens and the Celtics should be motivated to try for three major reasons. The first is Beal’s relationship with Tatum — acquiring Tatum’s childhood best friend might engender a significant amount of good will. The second is the pressing concern that the 76ers could swoop in with a deal that includes Ben Simmons, creating yet another stacked team in the Celtics’ own division. And finally, of course, a team with Tatum, Beal and Brown might have a championship foundation in place.

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The NBA Draft takes place on Thursday. Expect plenty of Celtics chatter between now and then.

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