NBA Rumors: Pacers Could Trade Domantas Sabonis To Celtics For Jaylen Brown, ‘Bleacher Report’ Suggests

Jaylen Brown (L) of the Boston Celtics defends Domantas Sabonis (R) of the Indiana Pacers in a March 2019 game.
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At the moment, the Indiana Pacers’ roster includes two of the NBA’s most promising young big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis. But despite the team’s rumored plans to promote Sabonis to the starting power forward spot alongside Turner at center, a new report suggests that the Pacers may be better off trading the former Gonzaga star to the Boston Celtics for a package centered on one of their own up-and-coming youngsters.

On Tuesday, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report listed five of the “worst” star pairings in the NBA and suggested a number of trades that could break up these duos and benefit both teams involved in the deal. These pairings included Sabonis and Turner, as Swartz believes that it could be “tricky” if Indiana starts the two big men side-by-side, due to the former’s lack of proven three-point shooting ability and the fact that he has spent most of his time with the Pacers at center.

Given that Sabonis may be slightly out of position at power forward, with Turner looming as a potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate in the near future, Swartz recommended that the Pacers trade Sabonis and backup small forward Doug McDermott to the Celtics for wingman Jaylen Brown and power forward Semi Ojeleye. According to the Bleacher Report writer, Sabonis could thrive as Boston’s starting center if traded to the Celtics, as he would fill the void left by veteran big men Al Horford and Marcus Morris, who respectively joined the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks via free agency this summer.

In addition, Swartz pointed out that Sabonis’ “superior” abilities as a passer and defender would make him an instant upgrade over Enes Kanter, who signed with the Celtics earlier in the offseason after splitting the 2018-19 campaign with the Knicks and the Portland Trail Blazers. Playing the sixth-man role last season, Sabonis averaged an impressive 14.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in just 24.8 minutes per game for the Pacers.

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As for the Pacers, trading Brown to Indiana would give the team a competent starter at shooting guard while Victor Oladipo continues recovering from injuries, Swartz added. He noted that Brown, who averaged 13 points and 4.2 rebounds for the Celtics in his third NBA season after being drafted No. 3 overall in 2016, could also assume the starting small forward role once Oladipo is ready to play.

“This trade would give Indiana one of the league’s best set of wings with Brown, Oladipo and Malcolm Brogdon, allowing it to play smaller and faster with [T.J.] Warren swapped in for Sabonis,” Swartz wrote.