For those who may be tardy to the party, Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant requested a trade from the franchise this summer. Though trade negotiations for the 12-time All-Star fell flat for the most part, the Boston Celtics went the furthest in trade talks with Brooklyn. In July, NBA insider Shams Charania of “The Athletic” reported that the defending Eastern Conference Champions offered the Nets a substantial trade package for Durant centered around All-Star Jaylen Brown, to which Brooklyn vehemently declined.
“The Celtics offered Brown, guard Derrick White and a draft pick to the Nets for Durant, sources said. The proposal was rejected,“ Charania said. “Brooklyn has asked Boston — in any proposal — to include Brown, Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, draft picks, and potentially one more rotation player, those sources added.”
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Marcus Smart Makes Durant, Jaylen Brown Comparison
September 26 marked the unofficial start of the NBA season as teams hosted reporters for NBA Media Day, where players give insight on everything that transpired with them in the offseason.
During his media availability, Celtics guard and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart gave a different perspective on the Celtics’ pursuit of Durant. And while Smart agrees that Durant is one of the best in the league, he says so is his teammate Jaylen Brown, who just helped take them to the NBA Finals last season.
“I just feel like JB is a young, upcoming superstar in this league and he’s rising steady, getting better and proving he belongs with the top echelon of players, and his name deserves to be in that,” Smart told reporters on Monday via NBC Sports Boston.
“So, for me, it was a no-brainer. And I hope that the Celtics thought like me that KD’s great, don’t get me wrong, we’d love to have KD, and anybody would love to have KD, but everybody would love to have Jaylen Brown as well.”
Brown Reacts To Hearing His Name in Durant Rumors
Despite Jayson Tatum winning the Eastern Conference Finals MVP award, it was Jaylen Brown’s star that shined the brightest for the Celtics in the NBA Finals. Per Stat Muse, he averaged 23. 5 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in six games.
Brown was considered the centerpiece of the trade talks that transpired between the Celtics and Nets on a superstar swap that would have landed Durant in Boston.
Many wondered if that would affect the relationship between Brown and the Celtics front office this season, especially with his contract set to expire in 2024. During Media Day, Brown said he is ready to put all the noise behind him and just play basketball.
“I’ve talked to my teammates, I’ve talked to ownership, the organization, etc. I’ll keep those conversations between us,” Brown said via NBC Sports Boston.
“All I can say is now that I’m here, I’m ready to play basketball. I’m in great shape. Probably the best shape of my life. So, I’m excited to start the journey. Things haven’t gone to the start that we wanted it to go, but that’s life sometimes. So, put our best foot forward and do what we gotta do.”
The Celtics and Nets could well meet in the playoffs again this season. After being swept by Boston last year, the trade drama will only add more fuel to the fire of their budding rivalry.