Celtics Emerge As Serious Kevin Durant Suitor

6:26am: The Celtics offered Brown, White, and a draft pick to the Nets in exchange for Durant, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that Brooklyn turned down that offer and countered by asking for Brown, Marcus Smart, multiple draft picks, and possibly one additional rotation player.

The Celtics aren’t currently inclined to include Smart along with multiple other picks or players, but they’re considering their next move in the negotiations, according to Charania, who suggests that Boston has emerged as a “serious” potential landing spot for Durant. No deal is imminent, but the C’s view Durant as a player who could be the missing piece as they pursue a title, Charania writes.

Charania also reports that the Suns “appear to be all but eliminated” from the Durant sweepstakes with Deandre Ayton back under contract and ineligible to be traded.

5:58am: The Celtics are among the teams engaged in discussions with the Nets about a possible Kevin Durant trade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who hears that Boston has been in “regular contact” with Brooklyn.

It doesn’t appear the two sides have made any significant progress toward a deal, however, with Wojnarowski reporting that Boston isn’t any closer to acquiring Durant than a handful of his other suitors are. However, Woj says that the Celtics’ ability to include Jaylen Brown as a centerpiece in an offer makes the club “formidable in its pursuit.”

The Celtics view All-NBA forward Jayson Tatum as off-limits in any hypothetical Durant deal, per Wojnarowski. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, that leaves just seven contracts that Boston could trade without restrictions, led by Brown.

Wojnarowski suggests that a Celtics offer could theoretically include Brown and up to three first-round picks (2025, 2027, and 2029), as well as pick swaps in 2024 and 2026.

Because Brown is earning approximately $28.7MM in 2022/23 while Durant is making $44.1MM, the Celtics would have to include about $6.5MM in additional salary in order to meet the NBA’s salary-matching requirements.

Al Horford ($26.5MM), Marcus Smart ($17.2MM), Derrick White ($16.9MM), Robert Williams ($10.9MM), Grant Williams ($4.3MM), and Payton Pritchard ($2.2MM) are Boston’s other movable players, Marks notes. All are expected to be part of the team’s regular rotation in 2022/23.

While Durant hasn’t backed off his request to be traded out of Brooklyn, there’s a sense that the Nets also haven’t gained any real traction in any of their trade talks involving the former MVP, says Wojnarowski. The club continues to seek a return that includes “impactful” players, along with multiple unprotected first-round picks and swaps, sources tell ESPN.

The Raptors, Heat, and Suns are among the other teams believed to have interest in Durant, Wojnarowski writes. The 33-year-old has reportedly identified Miami and Phoenix of two of his preferred landing spots.

It’s unclear how Durant would feel about landing in Boston, but since he has four years remaining on his contract, a team trading for him wouldn’t have to worry about him leaving as a free agent in a year or two.

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