Rival GM Sounds off on Concerns for Celtics Guard Malcolm Brogdon

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Malcolm Brogdon, formerly of the Indiana Pacers, passes the ball in the game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Boston Celtics appear to have made a good step forward with the acquisition of Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon (for Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and a 2023 first-round pick). The key might be keeping him on the active roster.

Brogdon has suffered a number of injuries throughout his career, only playing 36 games last season due to hamstring and hamstring injuries. The Celtics hope to solve this problem by reducing his burden. He is expected to come off the bench after starting every game he has played since his third season in the NBA (2018-19).

“The blow to him for dropping out of college is that he had terrible knees,” a rival general manager told Heavy. “I mean, some of the exams were really suspicious in terms of how long his lower body would hold up to NBA pounding. That’s why he ended up going into the second round because he was damn close to the red flag.

“So the fact of the matter is he’s probably better off coming off the bench with limited minutes and trying to be effective at 18 rather than trying to play 30 and always being injured. The question is how he will accept that.”

Another source noted the opportunity Brogdon awaits when he takes on a new role, citing the possibility that less could be more – much more.

“There’s been some issues with coaches before, but now he’s in a really big situation with a team that has a real chance of winning everything,” he said. “I heard he released the right things and I hope he realizes this is his big chance. He doesn’t have to be a big star there – a big minute guy – to make a big impact. Malcolm Brogdon at his best can make a big difference in this rotation if they can keep him grounded.

“You know how good Boston’s starters are, so what happens when they can bench and keep the hammer down? Who’s going to be able to match that kind of depth if they lose those stupid stagnant one-on-one S’s and play right? If they had done that consistently against Golden State, they would have gotten rings.

“We’ll see if adding that kind of depth of quality makes the difference. It should, but we’ll see.”


Will Celtics come into play for Kevin Durant?

The Celtics are certainly a longshot in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, though they’ll make their trade pitch to Brooklyn. KD has reportedly stated that he’d like to be dealt to either Phoenix or Miami, but the Nets will act in their best interests, not his (don’t sleep on Toronto in that regard).

And while the Celts may not be at the top of Durant’s wish list right now, there was a time six years ago when they were one of just six teams he agreed to meet with when discussing his destiny as Free agent decided. Sources told me at the time that Boston’s deal with esteemed free agent Al Horford in the summer of 2016 put the club on its dance map.

He eventually chose Golden State, of course, but shortly after that announcement, I spoke to him at a US Olympic team practice session in Las Vegas and asked how the Celtics got started.

“I just like the way they play,” Durant said. “I like their coach [Brad Stevens at the time]. I have a feeling they have some good pieces.”

The Celts pulled out all the stops for their July 2 meetup in the Hamptons, bringing along one of their favorite athletes, then-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with Danny Ainge and C.

When asked about his reaction to Brady’s presence and recruitment, Durant said, “I was willing to just say, ‘All right. Let’s go. I’m ready to go’ to see Tom Brady there. To see someone so successful in their craft and just such a great ambassador for football and the city of Boston, it was just great to be in the presence of greatness.

“But at the same time, I knew I couldn’t let that distract me. But he was great. It was great to see him.”

Six years later, Brady is playing in Tampa and Brad Stevens is working in the front office. But the Celtics are still trying to get Durant despite being in the championship mix now.


The pairing of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns in Minnesota

There are high standards of risk and reward for the Timberwolves in their trade with Rudy Gobert.

Bottom line: After sending Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, Leandro Bolmaro and four first-rough draft picks to Utah for the 30-year-old center, the move works better. If the parts don’t match, it could set the wolves back years. Then again, that’s relative, since Minnesota has only made the playoffs twice in the past 18 years, losing in the first round both times.

But pairing Gobert with the 6-foot-11-inch Karl-Anthony Towns is an interesting tire mix as the league gets smaller in general. (The Celtics started Robert Williams and Al Horford, but both are versatile defenders.)

“It drastically changes who they are, that’s for sure,” a trainer of a close Wolves rival told Heavy.com. “We’ll see if the two guys can work together. I’m sure Towns will love being able to play more on the offensive side. The question is, can he guard anyone out there?

“We know Gobert can’t go out and defend himself. There’s more rim protection, but that doesn’t do much when we’re all out there in the open and shooting over it.”

A basketball ops manager from another club delved into the Gobert question.

“We saw Dallas isolating Gobert in the playoffs where he wasn’t very productive and he wasn’t productive because he couldn’t defend himself on the floor,” he said. “And of course he can’t move the needle down at the other end at all. He cannot compensate for not being a defensive power by causing offense. So if you eliminate him from his defensive power by spreading it over him, you’ve eliminated him.

“If that happens — when the playoffs come and someone starts isolating Gobert, they’re going to do what Steven Adams did against Minnesota. He has to go to the bench and be okay with that. Adams didn’t complain. He supported his team. Gobert must. If he doesn’t make it, you’re in the middle of the playoffs and it’s just… the trade didn’t work. It can be something that decides how this turns out. It can all be situational. But if you’re here to win – and win in the playoffs, not just the regular season – you have to think about these things. These things have to work when you need them.”

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