The Boston Celtics have emerged as a possible suitor for Brooklyn Nets’ superstar Kevin Durant, not that it will deter the Phoenix Suns and their potential pursuit of the two-time Finals MVP.
The Suns were initially reported to be on Durant’s list of preferred destinations earlier in the month, but nothing major has been revealed since his trade request.
Overnight, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Boston have engaged in talks with Brooklyn on a possible deal.
The Celtics consider All-NBA forward Jayson Tatum off limits in any trade talks, but Boston is able to construct a package for Durant that could include (Jaylen) Brown and as many as three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027 and 2029) — and two pick swaps (2024 and 2026).
This latest news won’t deter the Suns, nor most other teams in the league. Boston are likely just doing their due diligence on the 33-year-old, as would any other team given Durant’s stature as one of the best players of all-time.
Wojnarowski himself stated, “the Celtics appear no closer to acquiring Durant than others in discussions with the Nets”.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania has since reported (subscription required) that the Celtics offered Brown, Derrick White and multiple picks, but that the Nets want Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart.
Brown appears to be one of the best players that Brooklyn may foreseeably get their hands on as compensation for Durant. There’s little the Suns can do unless they were willing to out match them with Devin Booker.
Booker’s recent supermax extension means he’s ineligible to be traded in the near future anyway, as is Deandre Ayton who was initially proposed as a sign-and-trade candidate before his re-signing with the Suns.
Even if a deal does go through between the Nets and Celtics, Phoenix would feel comfortable in the knowledge that Durant would remain in the Eastern Conference. Sure, the Celtics may become championship favourites, but the Suns wouldn’t face them till the NBA Finals should they both progress.
The Durant hysteria is likely to continue though, with the asking price understandably high for the 12-time All-Star who’s already amassed an incomparable résumé.