The Celtics have already caught some big fish this offseason, but it looks like they won’t catch the biggest fish of all.
Boston has had no “meaningful discussions” about the trade with Nets superstar Kevin Durant, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported. Durant reportedly requested a trade to Brooklyn on June 30, starting what could be the biggest trade contest in NBA history.
In order to get Durant, several analysts and league insiders have speculated that the Celtics would have to drop at least Jaylen Brown to start, with picks and another player having to be involved to match the salaries. Lowe noted that the Celtics “have to be wary” of Brown becoming a free agent in 2024, but they still don’t seem motivated to trade him for Durant.
A Durant trade doesn’t seem imminent, with some analysts speculating the disgruntled star could start the year still in Brooklyn. Durant listed the suns and the heat as two of his favorite destinations, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. But the Suns’ potential offer for Durant was stymied Thursday when the Pacers signed restricted free agent Deandre Ayton to a four-year offer sheet. The Suns will match, according to Wojnarowskibut that means Ayton cannot be traded until mid-season and if he is traded in the first year of his new contract, he must give his approval.
The Raptors and Warriors are also rumored to be potential contenders for the Finals double MVP.
As for Brown and the Celtics, the two sides can agree to a three-year extension worth up to $111 million in October. But if Brown signs that, he could potentially leave as much as $160 million on the table. If Brown makes just one of the All-NBA teams in the next few seasons, he could sign a five-year, $273 million max deal with the Celtics when he becomes a free agent in 2024.
While a Brown extension and Durant trade seem unlikely, the Celtics still had what many analysts considered a good offseason. Boston traded guard Malcolm Brogdon earlier in July, with the only notable players moving into the deal being center Daniel Theis and shooting guard Aaron Nesmith, plus a 2023 first-round pick. They also signed the forward veteran Danilo Gallinari to a two-year contract using the taxpayer’s mid-tier exception.
Both of the Celtics’ moves addressed what President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens considered their greatest needs: playing and shooting. Brogdon has averaged 6.3 assists per game with the Pacers over the past three seasons and made 37.6% of his 3-pointers in his career. Gallinari has been considered one of the best outside shooters in the game since entering the league in 2009, making 38.2% of his 3-pointers over his 13-year career.
The acquisitions of Brogdon and Gallinari made the Celtics the favorite to win the NBA title in 2022-23 on multiple sportsbooks. Having already made two big moves following an NBA Finals loss, perhaps the Celtics feel they don’t need to make the big swing for Durant.
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