With Kevin Durant issuing an ultimatum to the Brooklyn Nets – choose him or their head coach and president of basketball of operations – and Nets owner Joe Tsai publicly siding with the latter in this case, the Durant trade sweepstakes are still alive and well. Among the teams reportedly still interested in acquiring Durant are the Boston Celtics. Shams Charania believes that the Celtics are currently a leading team for Durant’s services.
Charania went on the Pat McAfee show to talk about why he believes Boston is currently leading the Durant trade sweepstakes.
“When you look at the landscape, the Celtics are probably a leading team for Kevin Durant when you look at the pieces that they have. (They have) Jaylen Brown, (they’re) able to add draft picks, other players. If Brooklyn goes that direction, you want as much as you can get, and that includes Marcus Smart, draft picks, which right now, from what I’m told, Boston’s not inclined to do.”
When Charania first reported Boston’s trade discussions with Brooklyn on July 25, 2022, he said that Brooklyn wanted Smart in a deal for Durant, to which Boston declined.
If Durant winds up getting traded to Boston, he may prefer Smart not be included since Smart is reportedly a player Durant wants to play with.
Durant Wants to Play With Smart
Following Durant’s ultimatum and Isai picking sides, Ian Begley gave the latest update on Durant, which included that Boston was a preferred destination for Durant while including that Durant’s preference would be to play with Smart.
Durant sees Boston as a desired landing spot, per people familiar with the matter. Durant also would like to play with Boston’s Marcus Smart if he is traded to the Celtics, per people familiar with the matter.
Begley also added that Durant being traded to Boston would reunite him with Nets’ former assistant Ime Udoka, with whom Durant shares a strong rapport with.
If Durant is traded to Boston, it would reunite him with Celtics head coach Ime Udoka. Durant and Udoka have a strong relationship from their days together with USA Basketball and in Brooklyn. Udoka was an assistant coach under Nash. As SNY previously reported, Udoka had no problem holding Nets stars accountable during his time as an assistant.
Regardless of who Durant wants to play with or the friendships he has with Celtics personnel, it may not matter since the Celtics apparently don’t have much traction on a deal.
Celtics-Nets Deal ‘Not Close’
Adam Himmelsbach gave an update of his own on how trade discussions have gone down between the Celtics and the Nets. According to Himmelsbach, trade discussions haven’t progressed much between the two teams both before and after Durant’s ultimatum.
A league source said there has not been any real traction on a potential deal that would send Kevin Durant from the Nets to the Celtics. It’s no surprise that the two sides have had some discussions, of course.
There is usually posturing in trade discussions, and demands tend to soften. But as of this week, when Durant reportedly reiterated his desire to be traded during a meeting with team owner Joe Tsai, the Celtics and Nets were not close to a deal.
Judging from that report, it sounds like the Celtics interest in Durant has never been that strong. Considering the team came off its most successful playoff run in over a decade, succumbing to Brooklyn’s demands for Durant would make for quite a seismic change for a roster that might not need one.