Betting Odds Have Celtics Massive Favorites to Land $194 Million Star

Ime Udoka, Celtics coach

Getty Ime Udoka, Celtics coach

It is the NBA blockbuster trade that won’t die. Just when it seemed as though the rumors tying the Boston Celtics to the Brooklyn Nets, with Jaylen Brown and Kevin Durant as the principal players to be swapped, were fading, Durant held a weekend meeting with owner Joe Tsai. It apparently did not go well, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, and because of that, talk of a Celtics-Nets deal has sprouted back up again.

According to the website, if the Nets are to deal Durant, the Celtics are the overwhelming favorite to be Durant’s landing spot. The odds of him coming to Boston, the site reports, are 4-to-7, a moneyline of minus-175.

That’s well ahead of No. 2 on the list, the Phoenix Suns, who are plus-350 (or a seven-to-two shot). No. 3 on the list are the Warriors and Raptors, tied at plus-400 (four-to-one). Portland, Memphis and the Clippers are among the top other favorites to get Durant, even though they would be considered longshots to actually get a deal done.

Celtics Seem to Have Put KD Behind Them (Maybe)

Even at this point, a deal to Boston for Durant remains highly unlikely. Despite an earlier report of a specific offer made to Brooklyn by the Celtics—Brown, Derrick White and a draft pick—there has not been much further conversation on the parameters of a deal since, and the Celtics seem content to enter the season with much the same team that won the Eastern Conference last year and lost in the NBA Finals to the Warriors.

The only major difference is that, in the interim, the Celtics traded for Indiana point guard Malcolm Brogdon and Hawks sharpshooting big man Danilo Gallinari, a pair of veterans who could have dramatically helped their efforts against Golden State in June. Among the betting public across the country, the Celtics are considered the favorites to win the championship next season, topping the Warriors, Bucks, Suns and Clippers for that honor.

But, a curious tidbit near the end of Charania’s report on the Durant-Tsai meeting raised some eyebrows–Charania made a point to note that Durant and Celtics coach Ime Udoka are friendly.

“Durant has grown close with Boston coach Ime Udoka in recent years after Udoka spent a year with Durant as an assistant in Brooklyn and later with Team USA for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Charania wrote.

KD-Nets Rift Making Trade Tougher

The deterioration of the relationship between Durant and the Brooklyn organization is more likely to reduce the chances that he gets traded before the season, rather than increase them. Durant first made his trade demand from Brooklyn on June 30, the start of free agency, but the Nets have not gotten anything like the kind of offer they want for the former MVP.

Last week, Heavy Sports’ Steve Bulpett reported that Durant and Nets owner Joe Tsai would meet face-to-face to attempt to find a way forward, and the meeting apparently went poorly, with Durant saying the only way he’d come back to the Nets is if the team got rid of coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks.

Tsai, though, later tweeted his support of both team employees, writing, “Our front office and coaching staff have my support. We will make decisions in the best interest of the Brooklyn Nets.”

The deeper the wedge between Durant and the team, the more that other teams will attempt to low-ball the Nets in their offers for Durant. The drama around Durant, too, has made teams increasingly wary of making a deal for him—few GMs and coaches will advocate for making a trade for a player who wanted his last GM and coach fired.

One front-office executive described the mood of other teams when it comes to Durant’s approach this summer. “Livid,” he told Bulpett.  “He and Kyrie (Irving) basically told Sean they were coming (as free agents in 2019), and Sean did pretty much everything they wanted after that.”




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