Malcolm Brogdon on joining Celtics: ‘I want to win a league’


Malcolm Brogdon on joining Celtics: 'I want to win a league'

As the NBA’s free agency frenzy spun at warp speed on Thursday, Malcolm Brogdon’s name stayed just under the radar. But behind closed doors, Brogdon was beginning to feel he could be traded to the Boston Celtics.

Then, Friday morning, he finally got the word: The Indiana Pacers are sending Brogdon to the Celtics for Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Nik Stauskas, Malik Fitts, Juwan Morgan and Boston’s 2023 first-round pick, league sources confirmed the athlete.

“I’m excited, man,” Brogdon said the athlete in a phone interview on Friday. “We have a chance to win the championship, so I’m looking forward to becoming part of the family.”

When the Pacers traded Domantas Sabonis for promising guard Tyrese Haliburton at the close of last season, Brogdon knew there was a chance he could be traded in the offseason. He signed a two-year extension last October, meaning he could only be moved after the 2021-2022 season was completed. But as free agency began to take off, he began to sense the move might happen.

“I’d heard Boston was interested for the past few days, but as a player you don’t know everything that’s going on,” Brogdon said. “You just have to sit still, let your agent work, let your team work, and then let the team that wants you work too. The Pacers were really good at facilitating a deal and sending me somewhere to win. I’m very grateful for how the Pacers handled everything.”

Brogdon has been waiting for his chance to be part of a competitive franchise, bringing the depth of play to the Celtics Basketball operations president Brad Stevens said he prioritized after his team lost last month’s NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors had lost.

Brogdon, 29, is set to make $67.6 million over the next three seasons, so he’s already secured his money. Despite averaging 21.2 and 19.1 points per game respectively over the last two seasons, he has struggled with injuries. He only played 36 games last season as he dealt with a right Achilles injury and hasn’t played more than 70 games since his rookie season.

But by that time he was already a well-known player on an NBA team and had already received the contract. Now his priority is to be healthy and get a ring.

“I want to win a championship, that’s actually it,” said Brogdon. “In the past I’ve worried about stats and numbers and all that. I’m going to Boston and I’m not worried about it.”

That mindset is music to Stevens, who came into the offseason to bolster the roster without disrupting the chemistry that has propelled the Celtics in two championship wins. When it came to adding key pieces to the rotation, he told the Celtics, “Have to walk a bit of a fine line. I think teams are fragile.”

Because of that, Brogdon’s reputation as a consistent leader and two-way player is a good candidate to fit into the dynamic that worked so well last season.

“Our group, in particular, isn’t so much about blindly acquiring talent as it is about building a team,” said Stevens. “We have some very, very talented guys and they are young. So it’s about how we fit together, bringing our strengths together to enhance each other.”

Watching the Celtics attack against the Warriors defense, Brogdon knew exactly where he could help. He saw those moments when Boston couldn’t get into a game or even get the ball to their stars to make a difference. Those are exactly the moments when he feels at his best.

“If I got in there, I could give them a steady presence and calm as a ball handler and a facilitator and give guys like (Jaylen) Brown and (Jayson) Tatum easy shots,” Brogdon said. “Just slowing down the game in those moments when we need to get a good shot.”

Although Brogdon brings his experience leading the Pacers and his own way of running an organization, he says he just wants to fit in with what makes the Celtics successful.

“These guys are proven winners at the championship level,” said Brogdon. “I hope to be one of the pieces that can help them get over that hump and win a championship.”

(Photo by Brogdon: Trevor Ruszkowski / USA Today)

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