It not a bad thing for a team to go after Kevin Durant even in his advancing age and with injury history. The mistake would be to chase him by offering half of what they have.
The Boston Celtics joined the Durant sweepstakes and made a decent offer that they should stick with, notwithstanding the insane Rudy Gobert trade recently that seemed lopsided in favor of the Utah Jazz.
The rumored offer
Boston gives Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, and a future 1st round pick to the Brooklyn Nets.
Boston acquires Kevin Durant.
This offer is one of the best win-win blockbuster trade scenarios in recent years.
This is not like the Timberwolves giving up Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler (Minnesota’s 22nd pick in the 2022 Draft), Jarred Vanderbilt, its 2023, 2025, 2027, and 2029 first-round picks, and a pick swap in 2026 to the Jazz for Gobert.
I understand why Minnesota did this. The Timberwolves are trying to get back to playoffs relevancy and see Gobert as the answer to their quest.
They may have mortgaged their next 10 years but they are receiving in exchange one of the best defenders and rebounders in the NBA.
Gobert, still 30, is the Defensive Player of the Year in 2018, 2019, and 2021. He was named All-Defensive First Team for the past six years.
He averaged over 15 points and 13 rebounds per game in the past four seasons.
The Celtics are not as desperate as the Timberwolves. They have the pieces in place to make a legit championship run for a long time and should resist sacrificing the entirety of this for a better shot in the short run.
The Celtics side
Why is it risky for the Celtics?
The obvious reason is this would shorten the window of the championship run they just started. Durant will be 34 when the 2022-23 season opens and it would be safe to say he has some 3-4 years to help the Celtics get a title compared to Brown’s probably 10+ years considering he will just be 26 on opening day.
Why is it a win for the Celtics?
The Celtics need a “Fourth Quarter Man” and KD fits the bill.
Durant, when healthy and willing to play, gives the team what it badly lacks: a two-way player who can score in the clutch.
It is relatively easier for the Celtics to find another Jaylen Brown in the draft by the time KD decides he is done in Boston than pass up the chance to have Durant for 3-4 years during a legitimate championship run.
The Nets side
Why is it risky for the Nets?
A rule in the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement entices Brown to likely become an unrestricted free agent after the 2024 season.
This is similar to Durant leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for Golden State in 2016.
Brown is a potential piece in return but locking him long-term for the Nets has some serious hurdles.
Why is it a win for the Nets?
The Nets do not want to rebuild and Brown would be a nice piece to build around, especially if they can lock him for the long haul.
He has demonstrated his ability to be one of the center-pieces of a team that can go consistently to the Eastern Finals and potentially to the NBA Finals.
It’s up to the Nets to build a team around this guy and make him happy enough so he would stay until the distant future.
The Nets countered the offer by asking Marcus Smart, a rotation player plus more picks.
I’d like the Celtics to stand by their offer and roll with what they currently have if the Nets reject it.
The championship window for a Tatum-Brown-Smart combination is probably 7-10 years and breaking it for a 3-year Durant-Tatum window plus 7 years of mediocrity is a big blow to continuity.
Just ask the Celtics fans who experienced some 25 years of frustration from the time Larry Bird retired until Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were brought in to team-up with Paul Pierce.
Giving up a 26-year-old potential NBA star for the next 10 years, the 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, and significant future draft equity that guarantees long years of mediocrity after 3 great years is insanity.
They were exactly at the opposite end of this scenario when they give up Garnett and Pierce for a bunch of draft picks.
I’m pretty sure getting Durant but losing their two best defensive players, a trait their latest success was attributed for, will not make KD a happy man. The defense would never be the same without Brown and Smart, let alone if Derrick White goes out, too.
Losing the championship sting for a considerable long period they had established is the last thing the Celtics should do.
On the other hand, the Nets should think about this offer long and hard if they want to contend for a spot in the playoffs.
Aside from Brown, what other available NBA star could they get for Durant if he really wants to leave?
Think about this for a second. The Celtics may have floated Brown in trade rumors but they are not just for any player.
Look at the names previously linked to Brown in trade rumors: Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, and now Durant.
The Celtics saw something in Brown and would not let him go except for big names. The Nets might want to check it out before finally throwing this offer out the window.
By Armando M. Bolislis