Within the past week, the Philadelphia 76ers have found themselves right in the middle of the Kevin Durant trade saga. Back on August 11th, Ian Begley of SNY reported that the former MVP views Philly as a desired landing spot. Among the other teams mentioned was the Boston Celtics.
Teams have come and gone in rumors since Durant requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets at the end of June. However, the Celtics have long been seen as a frontrunner to pull off a deal for the two-time Finals MVP. Judging by the latest news, that might begin to change.
In a recent story for The Boston Globe, Adam Himmelsbach reported that there “have not even been any real discussions of substance” between the Celtics and Nets regarding a trade for the All-Star forward. This comes just weeks after The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Boston offered a package centered around All-Star Jaylen Brown.
With teams continuing to bow out of the race, a window of opportunity could arise for the Sixers. Along with numerous analysts agreeing that the Sixers are an ideal landing spot for Durant, he has been spotted with former teammate James Harden on multiple occasions.
Kevin Durant-James Harden Dynamic Leaves Insider Puzzled
When it comes to the Sixers potentially trading for Kevin Durant, the James Harden dynamic is the most interesting talking point. The two stars have been teammates on multiple occasions, with their most recent stint coming to an abrupt ending. Harden expressed interest in leaving the Nets around last year’s trade deadline and was eventually dealt to Philly in exchange for Ben Simmons.
After news emerged of Durant eyeing Philly, NBA insider Marc Stein weighed in on the situation. He feels the puzzling relationship between KD and Harden makes it hard to figure out what could happen as this saga rages on.
The Harden dynamic, meanwhile, is yet another wild layer. As I reported in February, Durant’s relationship with The Beard leading up to the Harden-for-Ben Simmons trade had deteriorated to the point that the former Oklahoma City teammates were hardly communicating. Then last week, while I was on an England soccer-watching trip, Durant and Harden were spotted vacationing together at a Travis Scott concert in London not too far away from where we were.
So much fluidity in that relationship helps illustrate why it’s so difficult to try to predict what happens next on the Durant front … beyond promising that the next month and a half until camp starts is bound to be plenty noisy.
Market Shrinking Could Lead to Price Drop
The thing that put the Sixers behind other suitors for KD is their lack of assets. Brooklyn already owns most of their future draft capital as Daryl Morey sent a pair of first-round picks over in the Harden trade. Because of this, pulling off a mega-deal is an uphill battle.
With teams stepping away from discussions, the Nets might decide to come down from their high asking price. As of now, the most enticing package the Sixers can put together is Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, and two first-round picks.
There is no telling what might happen in the coming weeks, but an opportunity might be forming for Morey to add another superstar trade to his resume.