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Kevin Durant Trade Rumors: Rival Execs Think Celtics Can Make Nets Best Offer in NBA

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 27, 2022

AP Photo/John Minchillo

Rival NBA executives reportedly believe the Boston Celtics can offer the best player in a Kevin Durant trade package, likely in the form of Jaylen Brown, but think the C's will "probably balk" if the Brooklyn Nets insist on another key starter in the deal.

Jay King of The Athletic reported Wednesday the Celtics would be hesitant to add either Marcus Smart or Robert Williams III to the offer, while it's unclear whether the Nets view Derrick White as a significant enough piece alongside Brown and first-round draft picks.

Boston has emerged as a potential landing spot for Durant in large part because it features the assets necessary to satisfy Brooklyn, which is seeking a king's ransom for 12-time All-Star.

The Celtics initially offered Brown, White and one draft pick, but the Nets rejected the proposal, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Brooklyn, which has also received KD interest from the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors, asked Boston for Brown, Smart, multiple picks and potentially another rotation player in the deal, according to Charania.

So it's clear the sides have quite a gap to close to pull off a blockbuster deal.

The question for the Celtics is whether they're willing to break up their core in a major way for a chance to pair Durant with Jayson Tatum to form perhaps the NBA's best one-two punch.

It's an intriguing option given the nightmare matchup KD and Tatum would represent, but giving up two or three impact pieces along with future draft picks would also come with a lot of risk for a franchise that's been on the brink of a championship in recent years.

Boston has qualified for the playoffs in eight straight seasons, and it's reached at least the Eastern Conference Finals in four of the past six years. It reached last season's NBA Finals before falling short against the Golden State Warriors in six games.

A trade centered around Brown and White is more palatable for the Celtics, but moving a defensive stalwart like Smart or Williams without a direct replacement is a tough ask, especially since it would also include multiple first-rounders.

It'll be interesting to see whether the teams can find any common ground. Brooklyn is more likely to drop its asking price as training camp draws closer as it tries to avoid another drama-filled season like it dealt with in 2021-22.

If not, the Celtics should remain confident about staying in the championship conversation, even without landing Durant.

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