In the aftermath of Gordon Hayward’s decision to leave the Boston Celtics and sign a free-agent contract with the Charlotte Hornets, Fadeaway World suggested a number of trades that could potentially help the team reach the 2021 NBA Finals, including one that would allow them to get Brandon Ingram from the New Orleans Pelicans for Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart.
As cautioned by the publication, it doesn’t seem likely that the Pelicans will allow Ingram to walk away as a restricted free agent. However, with last year’s top overall pick, Zion Williamson, entering his second season as New Orleans’ “main attraction,” having the 2019-20 Most Improved Player remain on the lineup as a ball-dominant, high-scoring forward may be “a little much” for the organization. That, as noted, is why the Pelicans could consider a sign-and-trade deal that would allow them to get two quality players in return for Ingram.
“With the Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart package, the Pelicans would get two players who could bring out the best in Zion Williamson. Smart is an amazing defender who is an okay floor spacer. Brown is a star who is used to playing behind other ball handlers.”
Per Basketball-Reference, Ingram averaged a career-best 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 4.2 assists while playing in his first All-Star game in 2019-20, which was his first season in New Orleans after spending three years with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also shot 46.3 percent from the field and converted on 39.1 percent of his attempts from three-point range.
Meanwhile, Brown also had a breakout year for the Celtics, posting averages of 20.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.1 assists, according to the team’s Basketball-Reference page. Smart was a part-time starter at point guard for Boston, finishing the 2019-20 campaign with 12.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. However, he also struggled with his accuracy last season as he shot just 37.5 percent from the field.
According to Fadeaway World, the Celtics could benefit from the move if they truly see Ingram as an “elite” small forward, and it could also prove to be advantageous to Williamson as he continues his development as one of the NBA’s top young players.
Aside from the aforementioned trade idea, the outlet proposed four other deals that could help the Celtics to add a superstar to their lineup in the ongoing offseason. These include a hypothetical transaction sending Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George to Boston in exchange for Brown, Smart, and two future draft picks, as well as one that would allow them to get Russell Westbrook from the Houston Rockets for a similar package.