Exclusive: NBA Execs Sound off on Kevin Durant-Celtics Bombshell

Kevin Durant of the Nets

Getty Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.

While NBA sources contacted by Heavy Sports seemed a bit curious about the timing of reports about the Kevin Durant trade situation, there was more concern with how a deal for the star could get done at all under the present circumstances.

It was reported here three weeks ago that the Celtics were among the teams that would get in on the talks with Brooklyn after Durant asked to be traded, and according to sources, said discussions were held. The latest indication from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is that Boston is “no closer to acquiring Durant than others,” and unless the Nets alter their position on what would be an acceptable return, it’s hard to see how that gap could be narrowed.

“I have no idea where other people’s discussions are,” one league exec told Heavy Sports, “but the sense that I’ve gotten when I’ve talked to other teams about this is that they’re all in similar places. It’s basically that Brooklyn is asking for a lot, and the question was what your team would have left if you did get KD. I think teams are struggling with that, which is maybe why things have gotten a little quiet.”

What Would Be Left After a KD Trade?

The critical element for teams like the Celtics is likely that Day After Factor.

“I think they’re asking for a lot,” he said, citing the Nets’ desire for players who can keep the team competitive now and a load of first round draft picks. “I think the challenge for most teams who are involved in it is you’ve got to be able to come out of it with enough to win a championship — immediately. It can’t be like, OK, we make the trade and then we need to rebuild what you’ve given up. I think that’s a challenge for everybody.

“For what they want — quote/unquote ‘the biggest haul ever’ — I think it’s going to be tough to be left with enough to win it all. Because if you trade for Kevin Durant, you’d better damn well be in the business of winning it all right now. You can’t be looking at taking time to rebuild your assets. This is for everything now. And if you’re already a good team and you shorten your window, what’s the whole point?

“KD’s going to be 34 at the start of next season, and he’s still a superstar. But depending on what you give up, if you’re a contender now, you’d have to be pretty damn sure you were going to win more in the window with KD than with the people you trade away.”

Was There Really a Celtics Offer for Durant?

In the Celtics’ case, The Athletic has reported that Jaylen Brown, who turns 26 in October, Derrick White and a first round pick were offered. One source disputed that to Heavy, but the question of offers and counter-offers often comes down to a matter of semantics.

“You may ask a team what they think of a certain one of your players, and the next thing you know they’re telling someone you offered him,” said a general manager. “You didn’t, but that’s how this thing works sometimes. It sucks — for you and for the player involved — but it’s the way it is.”

And the way it is is different when a player like Durant is involved.

“I’m not sure there’s a team that DIDN’T do their due diligence on this,” said an exec whose club has looked into the possibility. “I mean, when the Kevin Durants of the world become available, I’m not sure there’s any team that doesn’t call and see if there’s something that can be done. When you have players of that ilk, and there’s certainly not many of them, I think everybody kicks the tires and takes a look to see what would be involved in that.”

But in terms of how a potential Durant deal would get done, it may be wise to recall a quote from a general manager in a recent Heavy.com story: “Everybody would love to have him, but almost no one has enough to get him. And I’ll bet you right now that the team that does get him will have to get a third team involved to make the trade work.”


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