How many players have left to become "the guy" and won championships?
What's odd is that players like Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal are criticized for being too loyal to their original teams and wanting to win titles there, as opposed to joining another star elsewhere. Of course when star players team up to form superteams they are also criticized.
Paul Pierce compares Jaylen Brown’s situation in Boston to James Harden’s situation in OKC and Tracy McGrady’s situation in Toronto— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) March 24, 2023
"Maybe Jaylen wants the opportunity to be 'the guy'"
(Via @SiriusXMNBA ) pic.twitter.com/8JjhOOJAXh
But let's take a look at Paul Pierce's theory about Jaylen and for the record I love Pierce and he's far from the only person who's floated this theory. How many players have left teams where they weren't "the guy" to become "the guy" elsewhere and won championships?
Scottie Pippen's departure from the Bulls was more about money, but he never made it back to the Finals as "the guy" in Houston or Portland. Tracy McGrady left the Raptors supposedly partly to get out from under the shadow of Vince Carter, but TMac never lead the Orlando Magic or Houston Rockets to anything.
Stephon Marbury was jealous of Kevin Garnett's contract and wanted out of Minnesota. He never lead the Nets, Suns, or Knicks to anywhere either. Had he stuck around in Minnesota, he very well could have achieved the success that a lesser talented point guard like Sam Cassell had with KG or even potentially won a title like Paul Pierce did next to the Big Ticket.
Kyrie Irving lives off of one NBA Finals shot to help the Cavs win their sole championship on a LeBron James lead team. He then grew jealous of James and wanted to be "the guy" elsewhere, but failed miserably in that role in Boston.
Bill Simmons: Do the Celtics Need to Take Better Care of Jaylen Brown? https://t.co/KbedUbUre1— TEAMBOSTON (@teamboston) March 24, 2023
Fans are saying that Jaylen Brown needs to make All-NBA, so that he will re-sign with the Celtics since they will be able to offer significantly more than any other team. If Jaylen didn't make All-NBA, the Celtics would still be able to offer Brown more than any other team, but fans fear he will leave to sign for less elsewhere.
That's pretty wild in my opinion. No one wants Jaylen to take a hometown discount, but fans are worried he'd take a discount to leave. That Brown would prefer to make less on another team than stay on the team that made the NBA Finals last season and were the favorites to win this season.
History tells us that if Jaylen were to leave and team up with other superstars like what Chris Bosh, Kevin Love, Ray Allen, or Anthony Davis did, he could very well win a championship elsewhere. But if Jaylen chose to leave to be promoted from his perceived Robin role on the Celtics to Batman on a new team, if he lead that new team to a championship, he'd be the first to do it.
The closest we've come to something like this is Jimmy Butler, but that's only if you considered him a Robin on the 76ers to either Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons. Even though he was the last of the three to join the team, I'd consider him "the guy" on that one Philly team that actually made a run in this recent era of the NBA. And of course while Butler lead his new team the Miami Heat to the Bubble NBA Finals, they ended up losing to the Lakers.
Now keep in mind that every NBA player has the right to leave their drafted team if they hit free agency. And if Brown doesn't like that he's considered the 2nd star in Boston, he has the right to sign elsewhere to be the #1 guy. Just be careful what you wish for, because history tells us this doesn't end up working out like the player might have thought.
Jaylen Brown noncommittal about future in Boston https://t.co/T4cngQCYbZ— CelticsLife.com (@celticslife) March 21, 2023
I'm going under the assumption that players ultimate goals are to get paid and win championships. Jaylen can make the most money in Boston and is in an ideal situation to compete for championships here. If championships aren't one of his priorities, then that's another story.