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Grading the Boston Celtics’ trade for Malcolm Brogdon, deal for Danilo Gallinari

·4 min read

The Boston Celtics made two big moves to bolster their bench and 2023 NBA Championship hopes this week and managed to do both without giving up a haul of draft assets or key players in their 2022 NBA Finals appearance.

But how good of a job did they do with those moves? Could they have possibly done better with the team using different teambuilding tools that were (and for now still are) available to them than trading for Indiana Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon? Were their potentially better fits for their $6.5 million taxpayer midlevel exception (MLE) they used to sign veteran forward Danilo Gallinari?

Let’s dive into the two transactions the Celtics settled on as the centerpiece (we think, anyway) of their 2022 offseason.

Signing Danilo Gallinari to the mini midlevel exception

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Celtics managed to land a longtime target to the team on the taxpayer or “mini” midlevel exception of $6.5 million in former Atlanta Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari.

The 13-season veteran has lost some of the mobility that let him play as a wing earlier in his career but has leaned into his shooting and size to extend his ability to impact winning at the NBA level by reinventing himself as a big man. And at 6-foot-10, Gallinari has the size to hold up against all but the strongest frontcourt players.

Even still, he is a bit of a defensive liability, but with the Celtics returning the NBA’s top defense in the second half of the 2021-22 season, hiding him in the regular season shouldn’t be hard, and will give Boston another option in the playoffs even if he will be more of a liability in a seven-game series.

Could the Celtics have found a better option to help out at the mini MLE pricepoint? There were (and are) perhaps sexier candidates like TJ Warren or Montrezl Harrell, but there are also baked-in concerns with both about future availability for very different reasons.

It might have been possible to find a player who could have offered more upside than the Italian veteran, but to begin with said player needs to want to join your team. Add in potential health or issues beyond the league, and the fact that Gallinari did indeed want to be in Boston, and this deal looks even better.

Is the player option ideal for the Celtics? Probably not — but we aren’t going to quibble over a potentially key signing for a title contender on what could very well look like a bargain in retrospect.

Grade: B+

Trading for Malcolm Brogdon

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics fizzled in the 2022 NBA Finals as their stars lost their legs after a grueling path to the league’s biggest stage, compounded by constant turnovers, poor late decision-making, and a lack of help from their development-oriented bench.

To remedy that, team president Brad Stevens traded away a deep rotation big in Daniel Theis, a promising young wing in Aaron Nesmith, and a trio of reserves who only play in garbage time in Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, and Juwan Morgan plus a top-12 protected 2023 first-round pick.

Given the team would have likely tried to move off of Theis after the Gallinari signing, adding a player in Brogdon with the size at 6-foot-5 to play point guard to a small ball forward in some lineups gives Boston tons of options to work with tactically.

The 29-year-old brings established maturity and leadership to the team along with playmaking and shooting at a high level, and despite recurrent, nagging injury issues, should help bolster the Celtics’ need for high-level play that would let them rest their star wings Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum more.

It also gives them a host of rotational options to spell the oft-injured Marcus Smart and sometimes-cold shooting Derrick White. That the Celtics were able to do this trade without parting with Grant Williams or Payton Pritchard nor multiple firsts makes the trade even more impressive for Boston.

The injury concerns and size of Brogdon’s current contract (about $67 million over 3 seasons) are the only things stopping a perfect assessment of the Celtics’ trade for the Pacers floor general, but we still see this as a brilliant deal nonetheless.

Grade: A

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire.

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