The Brooklyn Nets are seeing the drama with their superstar forward Kevin Durant reach an all-new high this week. Durant allegedly told Nets governor Joe Tsai to get rid of Sean Marks and Steve Nash if they wanted to keep him, a request that Tsai had no qualms in rejecting. The only path forward looks to be a trade to send Durant away to a team where he hopefully won't ask for the head coach and GM to be fired.
One of the teams most heavily rumored to make a move for Durant are reigning Eastern Conference Champions Boston Celtics. The Celtics developed their current core for years to be a championship contender, but their defeat to the Golden State Warriors may have made them realize they need to make a move to put themselves over the top.
The Nets have refused to entertain offers that don't include both Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart, with future picks also needing to be offered. Kristian Winfield from NY Daily News has reiterated the same in a recent report about the Durant situation. He also revealed that teams like the New Orleans Pelicans could make a run for KD.
The Nets have received a number of offers, including a package from the Boston Celtics that included star forward Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a first-round pick, but the asking price has been too steep. For example, the Nets countered the Celtics and said they must include reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, another rotation player and additional draft compensation in any deal that includes Brown for Durant.
The Nets asking price in any Durant deal has been steep: an All-Star level player, rotation players and significant draft compensation. The Pelicans, who also have CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson on the roster, are one of few teams who could gut their depth to acquire Durant and still have the infrastructure needed to compete for a deep playoff run.
The Celtics giving up both Brown and Smart along with picks may be a tough sell for the team that just saw Brown be one of their most impactful playoff players and Smart win a DPOY. But Durant is arguably one of the best players in the world, and a frontcourt of Jayson Tatum and Durant would be incredibly scary.
The Celtics can limit giving up rotation players by giving up both Brown and Smart, but those are 2 members of the 3 player core in Boston. The team has added an elite guard in Malcolm Brogdon to possibly avoid concerns after losing Smart, so maybe the Celtics are closer to executing this deal than most realize.