The Celtics acquired Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon in a trade on Friday. Michael Conroy/Associated Press

The Celtics wanted a player would can defend, who is a playmaker, and who can shore up their depth. They got all of that in one of the biggest trades in the NBA on Friday.

Boston acquired Malcolm Brogdon in a trade with the Pacers, sending their 2023 first-round pick, Daniel Theis, Aaron Nesmith, Juwan Morgan, Malik Fitts and Nik Stauskas to Indiana.

On first impression, that’s an impressive deal for the Celtics and team president Brad Stevens. The Celtics didn’t need to dip into their top-eight rotation players and were able to bring in Brogdon, an immediate difference-maker. Brogdon, 29, should fit in seamlessly with the Celtics after three seasons in Indiana.

There’s a lot to like about Brogdon, though he did struggle with injuries last season. Brogdon averaged 19.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 36 games (36 starts) during the 2021-22 season. The one question mark is his shooting. He hit just 31.2% of his 3-pointers last year. But Brogdon is a career 37.6% 3-point shooter, so one bad season doesn’t define his whole career. Much like with Derrick White, the Celtics will also figure Brogdon gets more wide-open looks from 3-point range as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown draw much of the offensive attention.

There are some drawbacks to the deal for the Celtics, though. Brogdon’s been injury prone beyond just last season. He’s going to miss games throughout the regular season, but the Celtics will primarily hope he’s healthy and available for the playoffs.

The Celtics said they wanted a playmaking guard who can ease some pressure off Tatum and Brown – Brogdon should do that just that with the ball in his hands. He also fits well with Marcus Smart and White, two guards who aren’t score-first guys. That’s now three guards the Celtics can deploy alongside Brown and Tatum, making them that much more versatile on the perimeter and wing.


Brogdon also brings in good size at 6-foot-5, fitting well within Boston’s defensive scheme. The Celtics finished with the No. 1 defense last season, and now they get to add a guy like Brogdon. The three-guard look of Brogdon, White and Smart defensively should cause opponents fits as the drop-off won’t be too significant.

While Boston struggled in the NBA Finals because of its lack of depth, that won’t be the case next season. The Celtics now have 10 guys who can all contribute. That’s a huge change compared to the playoffs, when Boston Coach Ime Udoka was forced to rely on a thin supporting cast. Brogdon could be a starter or in a sixth-man type role as Udoka will need to figure out how to use all his new roster pieces.

Brogdon is a bonafide NBA starter who’s making significant money. He’ll make $22.6 million next season, and he’s under contract through 2025. The guard will slide into Boston’s core and is locked up long-term beyond the 2022-23 campaign. He’s getting on the older side, but the Celtics are expecting to make another deep playoff run and Brogdon will fit right into the roster.

LONGTIME NBA VETERAN and sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari is signing a two-year deal, $13 million with the Celtics as they used the taxpayer mid-level exception to shore up their bench and shooting numbers.

While Gallinari, 33, has started to slow down, there’s a reason the Celtics front office prioritized signing the shooter. The Celtics said they wanted more bench scoring, and that’s exactly what Gallinari provides after plenty of productive seasons in the league. Gallinari averaged 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 66 games (18 starts) for the Hawks last season.

Gallinari brings his value on the offensive side of the ball, where he’s been a solid contributor for many seasons in the league. He shot 38.1% on 3-pointers last season on 4.5 attempts per game. When the Celtics fell in the NBA Finals, they need some more scoring punch off the bench to ease the pressure off the starters. Gallinari should prove to be that guy where he can score a few buckets and space the floor.

The Italian forward is also another option off the bench for Udoka. When the Celtics shrunk their rotation in the playoffs, the coach often relied on seven- or eight-man rotations. Those heavy minutes caught up to the starters by the Finals. But it was the lack of options that hurt as if any bench player was off their game that night, it forced Udoka to lean even more on the starters. That’s where Gallinari can take some of the scoring and minutes load.

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