Fresh off winning Sixth Man of the Year with the Boston Celtics, Malcolm Brogdon was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers over the summer as part of the Jrue Holiday return package. It was a drastic change in objective for Brogdon, moving from a bonafide title contender to an early-stage rebuild. Still, the 31-year-old has remained the consummate pro.
Brogdon is essential to the Blazers' current rotation. He's a stabilizing force in the backcourt, averaging 15.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists on .440/.412/.819 splits in 28.7 minutes. He's so good the Blazers are hesitant to trade him, despite their 15-35 record. Brogdon is a valued voice in the locker room and one of the few vets Chauncey Billups can lean on in high-pressure moments. Portland is also focused on developing several guard prospects, from Scoot Henderson to Shaedon Sharpe. Brogdon is more than the adult in the room. He's a mentor.
Still, it's good business to deal Brogdon while the price is high. He is due $22.5 million this season and the same amount next season. Several contenders would love to have 1.5 years of team control over Brogdon. The 2022-23 campaign was proof of his willingness to sacrifice and elevate a winning team. We have seen Brogdon oscillate between various roles duirng his NBA career, from spot-up shooter in Milwaukee, to No. 1 option in Indiana, to sixth man spark plug in Boston. That scalability will endear him to GMs across the league.
If the Blazers do bite the bullet and trade Brogdon, here are the best realistic trade packages.
3. Rockets reunite Malcolm Brogdon and Ime Udoka
The Houston Rockets are documented Brogdon suitors. Ime Udoka has aggressively accelerated the Rockets' competitive timeline since taking over the job last summer. Houston signed Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks in free agency. Now, Brogdon is a prime trade candidate. He has a working relationship with Udoka dating back to their (brief) shared time in Boston. The Rockets aren't top-tier contenders, but this would represent a chance for Brogdon to get back in the postseason mix.
Houston is slightly limited in terms of draft capital, but the James Harden trade was a boon. That gives them the flexibility to part with their own 2025 first-round pick, in addition to a couple second-round picks and salary filler to get a deal across the finish line. Jeff Green's $9.6 million contract expires at season's end. In the meantime, he's a great vet for the Blazers' locker room. Jock Landale is in the first season of a four-year, $32 million contract. He can take over the backup center role with Robert Williams' Portland future up in the air.
For the Rockets, Brogdon essentially figures to resume his sixth man duties. He can share the court with VanVleet and there's a strong chance Brogdon would close games over Jalen Green on a regular basis (assuming Green is still around post-deadline). Brogdon's high-feel, low-mistake approach is exactly what Udoka wants more of. He's the perfect off-guard to space the floor around Alperen Sengun. Brogdon is equally comfortable as a tertiary option as he is leading the charge for the second unit.
There are potential casualties in the Rockets' lineup — most notably rookie guard Amen Thompson — but Brogdon is an immediate upgrade for a Houston team itching to prove their standing in the West. The Rockets aren't going to part with their most valuable prospects, but one first-round pick and manageable contracts is the going rate for a player in Brogdon's ballpark.