Grade the Trade: Charlotte Hornets Flip LaMelo Ball for Jaylen Brown

LaMelo Ball, Jaylen Brown, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)
LaMelo Ball, Jaylen Brown, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images) /
2 of 3

Exploring a potential trade that would land the Charlotte Hornets Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown, LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
Jaylen Brown, LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

Any deal that involves an All-NBA talent is going to come at a premium, especially when that player is still a year or two away from reaching their prime. As such, a trade involving LaMelo Ball and Jaylen Brown would likely cost the Hornets multiple assets, although they should certainly take their 2023 draft pick off the table – after all, LaMelo is a future star himself.

One trade that could make sense looks like this:

In terms of return, this deal makes sense for the Celtics. Yes, Boston loses one of their two All-Star wings, but they gain a potential star guard in LaMelo Ball, who projects to be a better fit alongside Jayson Tatum from a basketball point of view. Nick Richards’ inclusion in the deal sweetens the pot, as the Celtics need a new big man of the future, and following an impressive season for the Hornets would likely slot into the rotation as the third-string big man, with scope to earn himself a bigger role moving forward.

The draft picks will also help replenish Boston’s current asset cupboard after Brad Stevens dealt away multiple first-round draft selections as he reshaped the Celtics’ roster after becoming their President of Basketball Operations.

For the Hornets, landing an All-NBA wing while also keeping control of their 2nd overall pick is a homerun. Mitch Kupchak would likely move to acquire Scoot Henderson in the draft, who could operate as an immediate replacement for LaMelo, while also providing a solid scoring punch in a new-look Hornets’ rotation that would be geared toward high-tempo offense.

When trading away a star player, no deal is perfect, yet this proposed trade could potentially satisfy both parties ahead of the new season. Finally, it’s worth noting that Charlotte would be utilizing most of their available cap space by making this deal, so they would certainly need to utilize some of their later-round draft picks to help fill out the back end of their roster.