The Boston Celtics have emerged as a potential destination for Kevin Durant. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting the Celtics have engaged the Brooklyn Nets about a possible deal for the 33-year-old 12-time All-Star. On paper, Boston might have the best trade package available.
Starting in 2024, the Celtics own their own first-round draft picks without conditions through 2027 (San Antonio owns a pick swap on their 2028 first-rounder). They also have young rotation players like Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard. But the centerpiece of any trade for Durant will be 25-year-old All-Star Jaylen Brown.
Brown has broken out over the last two seasons to become a legit star next to Jayson Tatum. During the 2021-22 season he averaged 23.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 33.6 minutes per game. He helped lead the Celtics to the NBA Finals and proved his value in the postseason. Brown is owed $59 million over the next two seasons, which is a steal given his talent level and production.
The Nets won't get a player better than Brown in a Durant deal, though they could conceivably get a better package. But it doesn't appear the Nets are ready to tear things down completely. Brown would help them compete now, especially if they don't move Kyrie Irving, or are able to trade him for a useful piece.
On the flipside, Durant would absolutely elevate the Celtics to Eastern Conference favorites next season. He and Tatum would form the league's top one-two punch and would put them on equal footing with the Golden State Warriors in a potential NBA Finals rematch.
Durant does come with some risk. He's 34 and played in 90 of a possible 226 games over the past three season. But when he's healthy, he's still among the best players on the planet. Properly motivated and with a chance to take down the Warriors, Durant could be at his best.
The Nets are sure to field attractive proposals from teams like the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns. But they won't do better than securing a cornerstone like Brown from the Celtics. There's no indication that a deal is imminent or even remotely close, but it feels like the move would work for both sides.