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Celtics want to think about long-term impression of Kevin Durant-Jaylen Brown commerce

Old and Busted (l.), New Hotness (r.)

Previous and Busted (l.), New Hotness (r.)
Photograph: Getty Pictures

The Boston Celtics have reached their offseason backyard of forking paths. After falling quick within the NBA Finals, they now appear keen to interrupt up their younger tandem, and probably a fulcrum of their asphyxiating protection.

In line with Shams Charania of The Athletic, Boston supplied Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, and a first-round choose for Kevin Durant. Later ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Celtics are ready to flip three unprotected firsts in 2025, 2027, 2029, plus first-round swaps in 2024 and 2026, and Brown in trade for Durant. That’s a considerably greater payload than Charania’s preliminary tweet, which sounds extra like a dialog starter than a severe provide. Nonetheless, the Nets who’re perpetually unhappy, reportedly countered with a requirement to incorporate Marcus Sensible.

The query Boston should ask themselves is that this one. Ought to they go all in on a tectonic commerce for an growing old Kevin Garnett Durant that may shift the stability of energy within the quick time period? Or keep the course and belief that their additions alongside the margins, together with a wholesome Malcolm Brogdon, and the continued improvement of Brown and Jayson Tatum vaults them excessive?

There are conflicting studies about how severe these talks are, however when the Nets and Celtics discuss commerce, ears routinely perk up. Durant being traded to a staff he misplaced to within the postseason feels acquainted. So does a proposed commerce between the Celtics and Nets. This time round, the roles are reversed. Buying Durant could be a dramatic shift in route for the Celtics who’ve been those accumulating draft capital over time and strolling away from trades for A-Record abilities. We all know what Ainge would do, however that regime ended when he stepped away final summer time.

In 2017, the Celtics compiled a commerce bundle for Paul George, consisting of first-round picks, however refused to incorporate Brown or Tatum. 4 years in the past, they declined to unload Brown, Sensible, and extra for Kawhi Leonard. Leonard and Kyrie Irving could have been sufficient to carry Boston over the Durant-Steph-Klay Warriors. Nevertheless it additionally would have left their roster barren as Irving and Leonard had their sights set on Los Angeles and Brooklyn.

George and Leonard have been on the verge of free company. They’re now teammates in L.A. the place they’ve struggled to synchronize their well being and take the courtroom collectively. In 2019, Danny Ainge contemplated throwing a king’s ransom on the New Orleans Pelicans in trade for a yr of Anthony Davis. Davis would have served a twin objective of additionally luring Irving to re-sign attributable to their friendship. Nonetheless, Davis’ father could have inadvertently saved Boston from making a mistake after watching Irving how rapidly he wore out his welcome in Brooklyn.

In contrast to Davis, Leonard, and George, Brown remains to be below staff management for 2 extra seasons till he can check free company. Durant has three extra years remaining on his deal, however he additionally carries the Kyrie contagion that Boston vaccinated themselves towards three summers in the past. Their staff chemistry is at an all-time excessive. They only introduced in “The President,” Brogdon to man the purpose. Brown is the last word diplomat though his title has been talked about in additional commerce rumors than POWs. It wouldn’t be stunning if there was some animosity brewing internally and Brown’s tweet in response to the rumors expressed his dissatisfaction, nonetheless, that’s nothing a max contract and a title down the road can’t assuage.

On paper, Durant is sensible. He’s coming off a season through which he would have been runner-up for the scoring title if he’d performed sufficient video games to be eligible. The minimal was 58. Durant performed in 55 after injuring the MCL in his left knee.

Durant prefers to play in isolation and he’s fairly rattling efficient too. He had the fifth-highest factors per possession of any participant to attain at the least 100 factors out of iso units and the fifth highest efficient subject objective proportion. His capability to conjure up on the spot offense when his teammates are in a drought may very well be simply what the Celtics ordered. Their bouts with offensive famines have been a recurring downside.

The argument towards punting on Brown’s current and future for Durant could be Golden State backing out of a deal that would have despatched Kevin Like to the Warriors for Klay Thompson in 2014. Brown gives sentimental worth, however halfway via his 20s, he’s solely been named to a single All-Star Recreation.

Nonetheless, he can’t keep put. Durant has made himself a celebrity and not using a residence. He ought to preserve a search agency on retainer to hunt out alternatives when he inevitably hits adversity. What occurs when Ime Udoka tries to put a few of that robust teaching on a 34-year-old Olympian, who grew to dislike Steve Kerr’s participant’s coach model?

Leonard, Davis, and George have been a belief fall train. That is a lot much less of a crapshoot regardless of Durant’s quirks. Durant is leaps and bounds higher, however simply as damage susceptible.

Will Boston remorse it in the long run? Probably. Nonetheless, the window for championships within the trendy period has shrunk. You’ll be able to not forecast which younger stars shall be of their prime 5 years down the highway. Jayson Tatum could full the turncoat arc he’s been teasing by donning the Lakers purple and gold when he turns into a free agent. Durant’s extension takes him proper as much as 2025 when Tatum can train his participant possibility. That’s three probabilities at titles earlier than Tatum evaluations his choices as Durant turns 37. Within the short-term, Boston turns into the favourite in 2023, and given how proudly New Englanders nonetheless have a good time that 2008 NBA title, only one shall be value it.


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