Would Boston pull the trigger?
The Boston Celtics have a pair of All-NBA wings who can defend multiple positions, shoot from outside and score at a high level. That’s the dream in building an NBA team, as it unlocks tremendous lineup versatility at the other three positions. The Celtics can slide Brown to the 2 to start two bigs, then move him back down the lineup to play small. If your two best players are small guards, like the Cavaliers, there is no sliding “down” the lineup to add another guard.
With that being said, Brown has some limitations that are ever-so-slightly lowering Boston’s ceiling. His handle is decent for a wing but has been taken advantage of in the playoffs, and his playmaking is fairly vanilla. If teams take Jayson Tatum out of a possession, Brown has struggled to create offense.
Donovan Mitchell has no such issues; he lives to create offense against tough defenses. He is a better shooter than Brown, both by percentage and level-of-difficulty on the shots. He is far from prime Rajon Rondo but is still a plus-passer, while his ability to attack off the dribble and get into the paint opens up more options than Brown’s straight-line forays.
The Celtics would be taking a bit of a defensive hit by adding Mitchell, but they probably have the pieces around him in Derrick White, Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis and Robert Williams III to survive that. The Celtics should also have more confidence than Cleveland in re-signing Mitchell given the market and proximity to New York. Mitchell has also reached heights that Brown has not, making it more palatable to pay him at a supermax level.
Interestingly enough, our sister-site Hardwood Houdini graded this fake trade themselves and gave it a “C-” because of the extra value of adding in Payton Pritchard and the first-round pick. Those seem like nominal assets to accomplish a trade that would seem like a clear win for Boston if they had some level of indication that Mitchell would re-sign.