Should Celtics be involved in Buddy Hield trade conversations?

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Should Celtics be involved in Buddy Hield trade conversations? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Joe Mazzulla loves the 3-point shot. And the NBA’s most prolific 3-point shooter over the past five seasons reportedly is available.

The Indiana Pacers have begun discussions with Buddy Hield about finding a trade to another team after contract talks stalled, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Wednesday.

“Multiple teams” are expected to contact Indiana about a trade for Hield, per Charania. Should the Celtics be among them? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

The case FOR a Buddy Hield trade

Did we mention Hield can shoot the lights out?

No NBA player has made more 3-pointers since the beginning of the 2017-18 season than Hield, who has averaged 3.6 made threes per game on 39.4 percent shooting over the last five seasons. He knocked down 42.5 percent of his 3-pointers in 2022-23 while ranking second in the NBA in made threes, and would be a lethal floor-spacer in a Boston offense that took more 3-pointers last season than every team outside the Golden State Warriors.

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The Celtics’ wing depth behind Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown consists of Sam Hauser, rookie Jordan Walsh and offseason pickups Oshae Brissett and Svi Mykhailiuk. Hield, who averaged 16.8 points over 80 games for Indiana last season, is a significant upgrade over all of those options. He’s also impressively durable, having played at least 70 games in six straight seasons.

There’s an easy pathway to a trade here, as well: Boston could trade Malcolm Brogdon and his $22.5 million salary straight-up for Hield, who is set to make $19.3 million on the final year of his contract.

If the Pacers don’t want to re-acquire Brogdon after dealing him to Boston last offseason, they could find a third team to facilitate the deal. The Celtics also have a host of second-round picks they can include as trade sweeteners if necessary.

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The case AGAINST a Buddy Hield trade

Yes, Hield is an excellent shooter — but he’s not particularly well-rounded.

The 30-year-old averaged just 2.8 assists per game last season and is a below-average defender at 6-foot-4. While he’ll drill plenty of open threes, he likely wouldn’t be initiating Boston’s offense or matching up with the opponent’s top guard on defense.

If the Celtics deal Brogdon for Hield, they will have lost two of their top three point guards after trading Marcus Smart earlier this offseason. A Brogdon-for-Hield swap essentially would leave Boston with a frontcourt of Derrick White and Payton Pritchard and put even more pressure on superstar Jayson Tatum to be a “point forward”-type facilitator.

Do the Celtics really want to lean more heavily on outside shooting after their streakiness in that area contributed to their downfall last postseason?

Hield also is on an expiring contract, so he’d basically be a one-year rental with the Celtics already up against the luxury tax. And if Indiana is out on Brogdon, a three-team trade might be difficult to pull off in such a short time frame.

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The verdict

There’s no harm in Brad Stevens placing a phone call to Indiana about Hield. But if this boils down to Brogdon versus Hield, we’ll take the well-rounded point guard already on the roster.

The Celtics already bolstered their outside shooting this offseason by acquiring Kristaps Porzingis. They have plenty of players who can knock down threes — including Brogdon, who shot a career-best 44.4 percent from deep last season. With Smart off the roster, the C’s should prioritize defense and playmaking, which gives the edge to Brogdon (assuming he can stay healthy).

We’d imagine Mazzulla may lobby for another sharpshooter in his arsenal, but if we were Stevens, we’d stand pat.

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