If the Brooklyn Nets decide to blow things up, the Boston Celtics are being eyed as a team that could potentially throw their hat in the ring for superstar forward Kevin Durant.
The Nets have been embroiled in trade drama since the offseason, with the quickly granted trade demand from Irving serving as the latest chapter. Durant also requested a trade this offseason, although he and the Nets later agreed to move forward with their “partnership.”
It’s still to be seen what the Nets will do going forward, but if Durant wants out, the Celtics were one of four teams highlighted by Hoops Hype that could get into the mix for the former MVP.
However, much of the idea is based around Boston’s previous interest in Durant, which likely has shifted with the Celtics hanging on to the best record in the Eastern Conference, a new coach in Joe Mazulla and the elite-level production from Jaylen Brown.
“Boston was the big surprise team to be seriously interested in Durant given they just went to the NBA Finals,” Yossi Gozlan of Hoops Hype wrote. “Their willingness to trade Jaylen Brown made them the leaders in the Durant sweepstakes since he was by far the best player known to be on the table.
“It’s unclear if the Celtics are still interested in pursuing Durant now that they have the best record in the league and great chemistry. It’s also possible the promotion of Joe Mazulla could impact things since pairing Durant with Ime Udoka could’ve been part of the equation given their time together in Brooklyn. While the goal in any Durant trade is extracting optimal value from a team, getting All-Star Brown alone would be great.”
Phoenix, Toronto and Atlanta were the other teams mentioned as potential landing spots for Durant.
Brown Said Offseason Trade Talk ‘Wasn’t Surprising’
Brown has been outstanding for the Celtics this season, shaking off his name being involved in the trade rumors. But Brown has spent his fair share of time hearing his name on the rumor mill but was just ready to play basketball once the season rolled around.
“It’s been the same since I’ve been here, so it wasn’t surprising or it wasn’t not surprising, it didn’t make me feel some type of way or whatever,” Brown said in September. “It is what it is. I talked to my teammates and organization about it and now I’m just ready to play basketball.”
Brown was named to his second All-Star Game this season, averaging career-bests in points (27.0), shooting percentage (49%) and rebounds (7.1).
Nets Moving Irving Still Benefits Celtics
The Nets dealing Irving to the Dallas Mavericks is a landscape-shifting move, especially in regard to the Celtics, who sit atop the East but had Brooklyn — which has been playing without Durant since early January — lurking nearby in the standings.
The Mavericks sent the Nets Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick and second-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Nets in exchange for Irving and Markieff Morris.
Brooklyn may not be done making moves but it’s clear they’ll be missing the contributions of Irving, especially with Durant sidelined. Irving is averaging 27.1 points on 48.6% shooting from the field, adding. 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists this shooting.