When a scintillating Celtics season ended in heartbreak two weeks ago, the consensus was that they didn’t need to do anything drastic to return to that point and ultimately take it one step further.
Maybe a bench scoring would help, or maybe they could add a point guard (see: Malcolm Brogdon) or a big one, but they pretty much had what it took to fight for years to come. Those were much simpler times.
Suddenly, with Kevin Durant becoming available, fans irrationally decided it made sense to give the Nets everything the Celtics have.
Take Jaylen Brown. Take Robert Williams. take my first born take my house take my jet Just get me Kevin Durant.
Nobody expects fans to be rational, especially in the off-season, but this narrative has become even more ridiculous than most. The Celtics shouldn’t trade for Kevin Durant. As simple as that.
First and foremost, there’s no way you can land him without giving up Jaylen Brown, either Marcus Smart or Robert Williams, possibly another role player or two, and maybe a pick or two. It’s too much and it doesn’t do them any good in the long run. Having a chance to win now is nice, but oh right, they already have. Having a chance to win long-term is even better, and acquiring the soon-to-be 34-year-old Durant could seriously hurt them in that regard.
What happened to watching Brown and Jayson Tatum rise from baby-faced rookies to NBA champions? They are right on schedule and getting closer and closer. Separating them now would feel wrong.
It would be like watching a great movie and wondering how it ends, and then suddenly it switches to another movie and the plot changes completely. The new ending itself could be better, but without what came before it won’t mean as much.
Recent history tells us so. When Durant came to the Warriors, the basketball was beautiful, but the storyline suffered. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green already had a ring. How many more could they get? Durant was like a cheat code, and it almost seemed unfair. Championships are championships, but you know some of Curry and company are wondering what would have happened if Durant had never come.
Another reason is of course age. Brown is 25. Durant’s heyday seems limitless in some ways, but the reality is that it will end sometime relatively soon. What happens then? Stuck with a disgruntled player at the end of his career, the Celtics are wondering what to do with this contract. Durant’s injury history is also a concern as Brown generally has more longevity.
The change doesn’t make sense for Durant either. He got his chance to play in Boston five years ago and managed to resist Kelly Olynyk’s hair and good nature. Oh, and Tom Brady. Olynyk and Brady are both out of Boston, so all hope may be lost now.
Durant doesn’t seem interested in the city, and that’s okay. It’s his life. Better fits include his favorite travel destinations, Phoenix and Miami (doesn’t seem like he likes cold weather, does it?), as well as the Bulls, Grizzlies and Mavericks.
Another reason it’s not an ideal match is that Tatum and Durant are almost too similar as players. Both need the ball a lot and the offense could stagnate more than it would otherwise if both were on the pitch. Three of the last four champions (Raptors, Bucks and Warriors) had a clear Superstar and a perfect core around them. It’s not always about gathering the most talent. As Brad Stevens often says, it’s about bringing the right talent together.
The acquisition of Durant would stun Tatum’s growth. Tatum thrives as a clear alpha and performs better when he knows a team believes in him wholeheartedly. Brown shines as a quintessential No. 2 option and scatters in spectacular games as a go-to guy himself. He was the Celtics’ best player in The Finals and that shouldn’t be taken for granted or brushed aside.
Don’t tempt fate and risk something special for something unknown. It is not worth. The parts are in place and momentum has been building for years and it would be unwise to change course now.