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Kevin Durant to the Celtics? What speaks for and against a blockbuster trade to Boston

Apparently, the Boston Celtics have gotten into the Kevin Durant trade poker and are competing with the Suns, Heat and Raptors for the two-time Finals MVP. But does a deal for Boston really make sense? The Celtics would have a lot to gain – but also a lot to lose.

Kevin Durant in the Celtics green isn’t a new fantasy at Beantown. Even as the traditional franchise ended the 2006/07 season with the second-worst record in the association – and thus with the second-best chance of the first pick in the 2007 draft – some KD imagined in Boston.

Luck in the draft lottery was not kind to the Celts, Boston fell back to position 5 in the draft, the fans were devastated. They missed the chance of either Greg Oden – the No. 1 pick who flopped due to injury problems – or Durant, who started his Hall of Fame career in Seattle instead.

In retrospect, the Celtics fans could probably live with the results anyway. No. 5 pick Jeff Green was traded for Ray Allen along with Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West on draft night, followed a few weeks later by the trade for Kevin Garnett and finally championship number 17 in 2008.

On the way to title number 18, Durant should or could play a role again. Should, because he was also a target for the record champions (shared with the Lakers) in free agency in 2016. Boston got a meeting in the Hamptons, but KD famously decided otherwise.

Could, because the front office around team president Brad Stevens is said to have the two-time Finals MVP and twelve-time All-Star on the list again. According to information from Adrian Wojnarowski (ESPN) and Sham’s Charania (The Athletic) involved in trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets.

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The first offer (Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, a draft pick) was followed by the first counter (Brown, Marcus Smart, multiple picks and a rotary player), but for now, according to Brian Windhorst (ESPN) first rest again. The question remains: Should the Celtics really thread a blockbuster trade for Durant? SPOX illuminates the pros and cons.

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Kevin Durant to the Celtics? That speaks for a trade

It’s ultimately about the question: Do I prefer a higher short-term chance of winning the championship or a longer-term title window with not so good – but still good – prospects for the really big hit?

Durant is the answer for the first part of this question. The Celtics reached the finals last season and were only two wins away from the title – but the last hurdle, in this case the Warriors, was too high. With KD alongside Jayson Tatum, Boston should be a little closer to the big goal.

Not even the biggest Celtics fans would doubt that Durant is the better player compared to Brown. Despite the long break after tearing his Achilles tendon in 2019, the 33-year-old came back strong. In the first few months of the past season, he was even considered one of the favorites in the early MVP race. It ended up with excellent stats of 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists on shooting splits of 52/38/91.

Admittedly, he was only on the court 55 times last season due to a knee injury. But if he stays fit, the Celtics will have one of the absolutely best players in the world for at least two to three years. Even if Boston were to lose Brown and Smart, a big lineup could look like this: Brogdon, Tatum, Durant, Horford and Rob Williams with White, Gallinari, Grant Williams and Pritchard off the bench. What opponent wouldn’t have respect for that?

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Celtics: Will the Brown situation force Boston to trade?

In addition, long-term success (in this case with the core Tatum, Brown, Smart) is never guaranteed in the NBA, championship banners hang forever. There is a scenario where Brown is already leaving the East Coast in two years, in the prime of his career.

That is when his current contract expires, the guard had extended from his rookie contract for less than the maximum and for only four years (this is NOT a Designated Rookie Extension so could easily be traded to the Nets and playing there alongside Ben Simmons).

Brown will almost certainly test Free Agency 2024, since an early contract extension is only possible for lower salaries and therefore makes no sense for him. His name has often been mentioned in Celtic trade rumours, so could he be looking elsewhere? That could be a reason for Boston to trade him in a package for Durant right now.

At the same time, it reduces the value of his trade, since he has only two years left (Durant’s contract has four years left for $198 million). So Brooklyn will insist on getting another player and multiple picks. In theory, the Celtics can put their own first-round picks in 2025, 2027 and 2029 and pick swaps in 2024 and 2026 on the table – or a selection of them.

All those picks plus Brown won’t sacrifice Boston. But for a better shot at the title, it might be worth sacrificing some of the future for an instant Durant boost. But there would also remain an enormous risk.

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