The Celtics found themselves in the thick of those trade rumors, just two months after reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in 12 years. Jaylen Brown was the center of those rumors, but the Nets apparently wanted more — much more.
With Tuesday’s word that Durant will stay put, the Celtics and their fans can move along toward a season that has Boston as the favorite to make another run at a title.
Kevin Durant appears to be going nowhere
For now, Durant remains a member of the Brooklyn Nets, but don’t let that fool you. It was less than two months ago when Durant said he wanted out of Brooklyn.
That changed Monday, according to a statement by Nets general manager Sean Marks.
“(Coach) Steve Nash and I, together with (governors) Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, met with Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles yesterday,” Marks said in the statement, per ESPN. “We have agreed to move forward with our partnership. We are focusing on basketball, with one collective goal in mind: build a lasting franchise to bring a championship to Brooklyn.”
Even this month, Durant said he wanted to go elsewhere. His initial desired destinations reportedly were the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat.
The Nets have been an offseason mess. Kyrie Irving has also expressed unhappiness with the team, but Brooklyn hasn’t moved him. With those two, the Nets can certainly make some noise, especially if Ben Simmons gets back on the court after missing all of last season.
The Durant situation is good news for the Celtics
The Celtics and Nets reportedly engaged in talks involving Durant. Numerous reports had the Nets asking for Brown, Marcus Smart, and multiple draft picks. Having Durant in Boston would be nice, but not at that asking price.
First, the Celtics addressed their biggest problem last year — depth. Brad Stevens went out and traded for veteran guard Malcolm Brogdon. He then signed veteran sharpshooter Danilo Gallinari to help generate some instant scoring off the bench. The Celtics primarily used an eight-man rotation throughout the playoffs. Now, they’ve become one of the deepest teams in the league.
With Durant deciding to remain with the Nets — at least for the time being — the Celtics can focus on securing Banner No. 18 with the team that reached the championship round last year.
Brown doesn’t have to hear his name in trade talk. Smart can feel secure in Boston, too. If the Celtics do nothing, they are still a serious title contender.
Questions about Brown and Jayson Tatum were answered after an ugly start to the 2021-22 season. From mid-January, the Celtics proved they were the best team in the Eastern Conference. They’ll enter the 2022-23 season even better.
Durant is supposedly off the market, which bodes well for the Celtics.