Ever since the NBA offseason began following a crushing Game 6 Finals loss for the Boston Celtics to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, the talk of the town in those areas has been the possibility of the Cs acquiring Kevin Durant in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets. Whether it’s figuring out who the team would include in a deal — Robert Williams is included in talks also involving Jaylen Brown, is considered a “nonstarter” by NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg — or figuring out which others Stars are worth the same consideration (not Bradley Beal) it has been a busy time figuring out how the team will progress after a near-final triumph.
The reason such rumors exist in the first place is because extension talks between teammate and friend Kyrie Irving and the Nets have become “bitter” and could result in the former Celtics point guard being traded or stepping down from his deal to take the Free -Agent to beat market. Corresponding Shams Charania of the athlete and StadionDurant is “monitoring the Brooklyn Nets’ situation and considering options for his future.”
Should Brooklyn put Durant on the trade block, the Cs would immediately become a prime target for the two-time NBA Finals MVP, who has won a total of seven playoff games in three seasons under contract with the Nets.
The six-foot-tall, extremely capable combo forward signed a four-year, nearly $200 million contract extension last summer, but that was before his team was unceremoniously swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs and Irving had just 29 regulars Denied season games — in part due to his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine and comply with New York City’s immunization mandate before it was dropped in March.
It wouldn’t be surprising if KD wanted out, and if he does, Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens must seize the opportunity to pair him with the best two-way player he’s ever had . starred with Jayson Tatum. If we were in control of Stevens’ neurological workings, this would be the definitive trade proposal Hardwood Houdini would make to land the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant in a league-changing blockbuster:
Jaylen Brown, Derrick White
Grant Williams, Payton Pritchard
2024 Boston Celtics first round pick, 2026 Boston Celtics first round pick
2023 Atlanta Hawks second-round pick, The better draft pick between the Houston Rockets’ second-round pick in 2023 and the worse 2023 draft pick between the Grizzlies or Dallas Mavericks
Why the Boston Celtics do it
Functionally, Kevin Durant could slip right into the role of Jaylen Brown on the Celtics offense without the team missing a beat. While this author previously thought Marcus Smart would need to be included in any Durant deal, Derrick White’s three years remaining at $52 million for Brooklyn may actually be preferable to Smart’s four years remaining at $77 million. Combined, White and Brown’s salaries work in a direct exchange for KD, but that’s not enough return to get things done for either side.
The two future first-round picks and two future seconds bring the needle significantly closer to closure, but what makes this overkill is Patty Mills’ $6.1 million salary compared to the combined salary figures of $6.5 million. Dollars of last lottery picks exchanged is Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard. Both still have their rookie deals, though Williams expects a pay raise next offseason.
That potential raise is why Pritchard isn’t all that hard to give up, especially when an experienced point guard with strong ties returns to Ime Udoka (Patty Mils) to fill the role of first-round pick on the 2020 rotation.
This deal gives the Cs a potentially oversized starting XI (Marcus Smart-Jayson Tatum-Kevin Durant-Al Horford-Robert Williams III) who have constant discrepancies and would sacrifice little after Brown’s hypothetical loss.
Why the Brooklyn Nets do it
Jaylen Brown is the most talented player the Nets could sign for Kevin Durant. If Brooklyn (including DeAndre Jordan) wants to accept sunk costs on an investment gone awry starting in the summer of 2019, it’s the best way to keep the team competitive in the meantime while also replenishing the draft closet after so many picks were sent away in January 2021 James Harden trade.
A Nets rotation featuring Brown, Ben Simmons, Joe Harris, Seth Curry, Derrick White, Grant Williams, Payton Pritchard, Cam Thomas and Nic Claxton/whoever they sign as free agency to replace Nic Claxton at center is holding the team in the postseason hunt, assuming Steve Nash could get the parts fitting. Even if the incoming Cs picks are late first rounds, Brooklyn would take the team exponentially by completing this deal if Irving is truly willing to crash a third team after his tenure and departure.