Celtics

Celtics reportedly haven’t had ‘substantive talks’ about Kevin Durant trade

Durant reportedly requested a trade at the end of June.

A Kevin Durant-Jaylen Brown swap appears unlikely. John Minchillo/AP Photo

The Celtics have already caught some big fish this offseason, but it appears they won’t catch the biggest fish of them all.

Boston hasn’t had “substantive talks” about trading for Nets superstar Kevin Durant, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported. Durant reportedly asked for a trade from Brooklyn on June 30, beginning what could possibly be the biggest trade sweepstakes in NBA history.

In order to get Durant, it’s been speculated by several league analysts and insiders that the Celtics would have to give up at least Jaylen Brown to start, with picks and another player having to be involved to match salaries. Lowe noted that the Celtics “have to be wary” that Brown will become a free agent in 2024, but they still appear unmotivated to trade him for Durant.

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A Durant trade doesn’t appear to be imminent, with some analysts speculating that the disgruntled star could begin the year still in Brooklyn. Durant listed the Suns and Heat as two of his preferred destinations, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. But the Suns’ potential offer for Durant got hampered on Thursday when the Pacers signed restricted free agent Deandre Ayton to a four-year offer sheet. The Suns will match, according to Wojnarowski, but that means Ayton can’t be traded until midseason and if he is traded in the first year of his new deal, he has to give his approval.

The Raptors and Warriors have also been rumored as potential suitors for the two-time Finals MVP.

As for Brown and the Celtics, both sides can agree to a three-year extension that’s worth up to $111 million in October. But if Brown signs that, he could potentially leave up to $160 million on the table. If Brown just makes one of the All-NBA teams over the next seasons, he could sign a five-year, $273 million max contract with the Celtics when he becomes a free agent in 2024.

While a Brown extension and a Durant trade appear unlikely, the Celtics have still had what several analysts have considered a good offseason. Boston traded for guard Malcolm Brogdon earlier in July, with the only notable players moving in the deal being center Daniel Theis and shooting guard Aaron Nesmith, plus a 2023 first-round pick. They also signed veteran forward Danilo Gallinari to a two-year deal using the tax-payer’s mid-level exception.

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Both moves by the Celtics addressed what president of basketball operations Brad Stevens thought were their biggest needs: playmaking and shooting. Brogdon averaged 6.3 assists per game with the Pacers over the last three seasons and has made 37.6 percent of his 3-pointers in his career. Gallinari’s been considered one of the game’s best outside shooters since he entered the league in 2009, making 38.2 percent of his 3-pointers over his 13-year career.

The acquisitions of Brogdon and Gallinari have made the Celtics the favorite to win the NBA title in 2022-23 on multiple sportsbooks. After already making a pair of big moves following an NBA Finals loss, maybe the Celtics feel they don’t need to make the big swing for Durant.

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