The Boston Celtics have allegedly surfaced as a prospective suitor in Kevin Durant trade talks. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski stated the Celtics have been in “frequent touch” with the Nets discussing a trade but “look no closer to landing Durant than others.” The Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, and Phoenix Suns have been the most commonly cited potential suitors.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN later told 98.7 Arizona Sports that the discussions with the Celtics were not “new talks” and that the offer was likely “weeks old,” citing Sarah Kezele. Boston’s ability to deal with Jaylen Brown might offer the Celtics a leg up in talks should things start to heat up.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the Celtics offered Brown, Derrick White, and an undisclosed draft selection for Durant. The Nets reacted by asking Antonio Brown, Marcus Smart, draft picks, and another rotation player.
Boston has refused at incorporating Smart in trade talks. The Celtics’ desire to incorporate Brown—regardless of Smart’s involvement—in trade talks undoubtedly makes them the favorites to capture Durant.
The Suns, formerly considered the front-runners, are effectively out of the conversation after having to match the Indiana Pacers’ offer sheet to Deandre Ayton. Phoenix’s best trade deal would have included a sign-and-move of Ayton, given the team’s reasonable desire to part with Devin Booker.
The Heat may include Bam Adebayo in negotiations, but Brooklyn and Miami would require a third team to join involved and take on Ben Simmons. The Nets could not have Adebayo and Simmons on their roster since both are on designated rookie extensions; NBA rules forbid teams from dealing for more than one player on a designated contract.
The Raptors’ most tempting trade piece is Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, but Toronto has shown little appetite to make him available. The Raptors’ chances of reaching the NBA Finals would be less certain even if they signed Durant.
The best player available to the Nets in trade talks currently plays for the Celtics. Brown, who will be 26 in October, has averaged at least 20 points per game for the past three seasons but has never been given the opportunity to be the primary offensive option.
Even though the Celtics just advanced to the NBA Finals, there’s a chance Brown is looking to move on from Boston. Earlier this month, he commented on a tweet about feeling “disrespected” by fans because of his constant appearances in trade rumors.
It’s unlikely that hearing that the Brooklyn Nets have given him a contract to return to the Celtics will ease any tensions that may still exist. Regardless of if the Celtics land Durant, don’t be surprised if Brown attempts to find a new home before next season. This gives Brown leverage if the “disrespect” isn’t remedied, given his contract expires in two years.
Durant inked a four-year, $198 million agreement with the Brooklyn Nets. On October 22, Durant scored his twelfth career triple-double, and first as a Net with 29 points, 15 rebounds, and 12 assists in a 114–109 comeback win over the Philadelphia 76ers. On November 10, Durant scored 30 points on 11-for-12 shooting in a 123–90 win over the Orlando Magic.
On December 12, Durant scored a then-season-high 51 points in a 116–104 win over the Detroit Pistons. On December 14, Durant earned his fourteenth career triple-double with 34 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists in a 131–129 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors. On December 16, Durant scored 34 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and handed out eight assists in a 114–105 win against the Philadelphia 76ers.
On January 15, 2022, during a 120–105 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Durant exited in the second quarter after suffering a left knee injury, later determined to be a sprained MCL, and was subsequently ruled out for four to six weeks.
On March 3, his first game back from injury Durant scored 31 points in a 113–107 loss to the Miami Heat. On March 5, Durant became the 23rd player in NBA history to achieve 25,000 points. On March 13, Durant scored a then season-high 53 points and set a career-high for field goal attempts with 37, collected 6 rebounds, dished 9 assists along with 2 steals in a 110–107 win over the New York Knicks.
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