The Boston Celtics are expected to be busy this summer as they look to piece together a roster that can return to title contention.
Doing so may require some difficult decisions, such as parting ways with All-Star swingman Jaylen Brown. Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck recently said he'd love for Brown and Jayson Tatum to retire in Boston, but he is "prepared" for some significant roster changes this offseason.
Obviously, dealing a player of Brown's caliber would mean the C's were made an offer they simply couldn't refuse. Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix has two players in mind who Boston would have to consider trading the 24-year-old for.
"There are a couple of players out there that I think the Celtics would move for Jaylen Brown," Mannix said Thursday on Early Edition. "One would be Bradley Beal, who has to make a decision of his own the next couple weeks if he wants to sign that extension with Washington. If he doesn't, that's tantamount to a trade request and he can become available. And we all know at this point about the relationship between Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum.
"The other is Damian Lillard. It's still very much up in the air, Lillard's future in Portland. If in the coming weeks the Blazers decide that they have to trade Damian Lillard, I think Boston would be in a pretty good position to make a strong offer that would have to include Jaylen Brown. So, you don't just move him to shake things up, but if one of those two players becomes available I think you have to look long and hard about trading Jaylen Brown."
Beal, 28, was the NBA's second-leading scorer in 2020-21 with 31.3 points per game. The nine-year veteran is a three-time All-Star and, as Mannix mentions, has a well-documented close friendship with fellow St. Louis native Tatum.
Lillard, a six-time All-Star, reportedly is considering a trade request from the Trail Blazers after nine seasons in Portland. The soon-to-be 31-year-old averaged 28.8 points and 7.5 assists per game while shooting 39 percent from 3-point range and 45.1 percent from the floor.
As great as both players are, trading Brown would not be easy. He already has established himself as a leader both on and off the court for Boston and has improved with each year of experience. In 2020-21, Brown set career-highs in points per game (24.7), assists (3.4), shooting percentage (48.4), and 3-point percentage (39.7).
It's safe to say newly-appointed president of basketball operations Brad Stevens has some tough decisions ahead.