The Boston Celtics have indeed made overtures to land superstar forward Kevin Durant, league sources told B/R, but Boston isn’t exactly a new player in the Brooklyn Nets’ ongoing trade process.
The Celtics’ most serious discussion—as first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Monday—in which Brad Stevens’ front office was amenable to parting with Jaylen Brown, came weeks ago at the beginning of July, sources said. Representatives from most rival teams spoke with Nets general manager Sean Marks and other Brooklyn officials during the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League.
Since the end of summer league, the majority of consequential trade conversations around the NBA have come to a momentary lull, and team personnel aren’t expecting any blockbuster trade any time soon. That will only change if and when a team makes a sudden full-force effort to acquire Durant or Utah Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell.
Boston’s conversations for Durant, specifically, were considered by both teams as part of the Nets’ first stage of continuing negotiations, sources told B/R.
Durant is one of the NBA’s unquestioned elite players and has four years remaining on his contract. The market price for an established All-Star has grown to unprecedented levels, thanks to Utah’s massive haul for Rudy Gobert and San Antonio’s significant return for Dejounte Murray. But with Durant turning 34 in September and a notable injury history that’s limited him to only 90 games over the past three seasons, no rival teams’ trade offers have come close to meeting Brooklyn’s lofty expectations. Several opposing executives contacted by B/R have suggested the Nets’ terms are so significant because Brooklyn has no intention to truly move Durant.
The Nets have sought at least one bona fide All-Star-caliber player, other contributing players and significant draft capital to consider any Durant package, sources said. Brooklyn also maintains a stance that Durant may ultimately survey the Nets’ training camp roster and determine that playing in Barclays Center represents his best chance for a 2022-23 championship run.