Celtics are among ‘most important’ landing spots


Celtics

The Nets reportedly intend to acquire all possible business assets in exchange for Durant.

Kevin Durant reportedly told the Nets to choose between keeping him or letting Sean Marks and Steve Nash go. AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

Kevin Durant reportedly wouldn’t back down from his trade demand, and the Celtics remain one of the most viable trade destinations.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Durant wants the Nets to choose between himself or both head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks. The Nets, meanwhile, plan to extract “the last trump card” from a team hoping to acquire Durant, per Charania.

Charania reported that the Celtics – along with the Raptors and Heat – remain one of the “biggest candidates” to acquire Durant. He added that the Celtics’ trade package is considered a “workable deal”, which is somewhat new. When the Celtics were initially flagged as a potential landing spot for Durant, Charania wrote that they offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a first-round pick for the Nets superstar. According to Charania, the Nets then counter-offered Durant for Brown, Marcus Smart, another rotation player (likely someone like Grant Williams), and several first-round picks.

Whether or not the Celtics actually offered Brown has been a contentious point, but the Nets would struggle to find a better player in a deal. The Raptors could offer rookie of the year Scottie Barnes, but Barnes isn’t as established as Brown. Meanwhile, the Nets need to reload quickly — they’ve run out of draft picks for the foreseeable future after trading for James Harden (who now plays for the 76ers).

The Celtics can operate from a very strong negotiating position, even though the Nets are the team with the superstardom. Durant has made it clear he’s lost faith in the franchise’s current leadership, and the Celtics already have a strong team — one of the best in the league, if you believe the bettors. With no reason to sway, they can wait for a throw in the middle (or wander around just entering next season with their team that went to the finals intact and bolstered by off-season moves).

As the Nets squirm, their leverage decreases. This season, Durant enters a four-year contract worth $196 million. He will be paid $53.2 million during his 38-year-old season. That’s a lot of money, which makes the next two years absolutely crucial if the Nets are really going to try to extract “every last asset” from a trading partner.

Smart money is still betting against Durant becoming a Celtic, but if he does, the Nets likely won’t get what they originally thought they were getting for their disgruntled superstar.



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