The Brooklyn Nets are going to drive a hard bargain when it comes to a potential trade for Kevin Durant.
They even reportedly asked the Boston Celtics for their two best players in early talks, according to a report from Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe:
"Brooklyn initially tried to pry both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown from Boston. That proposal went nowhere, of course. The source confirmed recent reports that Brooklyn later shifted its focus to a potential deal centered on Brown, Marcus Smart and a massive haul of future first-round draft picks. But the Celtics were not interested."
On Monday, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the Nets have "set a sky-high threshold for the return the franchise wants for Durant" and that Brooklyn governor Joe Tsai and the team "have made clear privately that they will take every last asset from a team that trades for Durant, sources said."
Within that context, asking for both Tatum and Brown in initial trade talks doesn't come as a huge surprise, even if the Nets surely knew it would be a nonstarter for Boston.
Shams' report came after Durant met with Tsai and reportedly reiterated his desire to be traded. He additionally requested that he either be dealt or that the team fire head coach Steve Nash and general manager Sean Marks, reportedly telling Tasi he "does not have faith in the team's direction."
It didn't take long for Tsai to make his choice:
The Nets remain in limbo, with the futures of both Durant and Kyrie Irving—who is heading into the final year of his contract after exercising his $36.5 million player option—in question.
The Celtics have emerged as a potential contender in trade talks involving Durant, largely because they could build an offer around a young talent like Brown. The question is whether it would make sense to break apart the young duo of Tatum (24) and Brown (25) after a trip to the NBA Finals this season and the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2019-20 campaign, all for the 33-year-old Durant.
Brown didn't put his best foot forward in the 2022 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, averaging 23.5 points per game in the series but turning the ball over 10 times between Games 5 and 6. His handle looked suspect against the Dubs.
Durant unquestionably would be an immediate upgrade. But Brown is just entering his prime years and has already proved he can help lead the C's deep into the playoffs. Boston may not be willing to give up on his potential just yet.
Certainly, the Celtics were never going to entertain trading both Tatum and Brown.