Boston’s blockbuster deal on Friday, which marked the start of Brad Stevens’ stint as president of basketball operations, included major names like Kemba Walker and Al Horford. However, one of the deal’s minor pieces, 21-year-old centre Moses Brown, might wind up having a significant effect in Boston down the road.
So, who is this undrafted colossus? And why is he such an important component of the deal for Boston?
Earthy coloured was a McDonald’s All-American in secondary school and just remained at UCLA for one year before proclaiming for the NBA Draft in 2019. He went undrafted in June 2019, but the Blazers signed him to a two-way deal in September, and he only played nine games for them during the 2019-20 season.
Brown left Portland after a year and signed a two-way contract with the Thunder in the offseason. He began the 2020-21 season with a bang for Oklahoma City’s G-League member, winning various awards during the G-League Bubble prior to getting a shot with the principle club in the subsequent half. He got his underlying start for the Thunder on March 14 and was the starting local area for a critical piece of the second half of the period when Al Horford was revived for the a few games.
The UCLA product made 32 starts in 43 games this season, averaging almost a double-double (8.6 points and 8.9 rebounds) in only 21.4 minutes per game. He finished well near the rim, but he lacks a consistent shooting range outside of the paint, which hurt his free throw shooting (60 percent in his career). Given his age, his rim protection (almost two blocks per 36 minutes) and finishing make him a good long-term growth possibility for the Celtics.
As a side effect of the larger transaction, the Brown addition becomes much more enticing for Boston. Subsequent to marking a multi-year contract with the Thunder in March, the capable focus is under group control for the following three seasons. For the following three years, the contract is totally non-guaranteed and for the bare minimum.
2021-22: $1.7 million
2022-23: $1.8 million
2023-24: $2 million (team option)
For a club like Boston, that has so much money invested in its top five or six players, having proven prospects sign for such a low price is huge. Brad Stevens’ ability to acquire useful free agents in future seasons will be limited by such large financial commitments.
Brown will be a great tool for the Celtics to move ahead with if he can grow into a solid rotation player on a winning team in the next year or two, especially at a position where the organisation has never chosen to spend substantially in the last two seasons (center).
Brown’s presence also opens the door for other players on the roster to be used as trade assets this summer. Tristan Thompson, Robert Williams, and Grant Williams are already under contract with Boston through 2022, and this agreement adds Horford and Brown to the mix. Given the injury worries surrounding Horford and R. Williams, Brad Stevens may want to maintain that depth, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see one of those guys traded to assist in another area of the squad.
When Boston was taking a bloated contract back in Horford, giving up a first-round selection (No. 16 overall) in this transaction was surely not easy. However, the acquisition of another young talent, Brown, who came with strong cost control, made giving up that enticing selection a lot easier. When everything is said and done, Brown, rather than a 35-year-old Horford, might end up being a more valuable long-term acquisition for Boston.
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