BOSTON — The Celtics really wanted Kevin Durant to sign with Boston this summer, and they weren’t shy in admitting it.
But while Isaiah Thomas and Co. led the charge in selling Durant on the C’s, there was one Celtic who stayed out of his recruiting process entirely: Avery Bradley.
“Not to put anything on him, but he didn’t care (where I signed),” Durant told reporters Friday morning during the Golden State Warriors’ shootaround at TD Garden. “… He didn’t talk to me about it, he didn’t ask me anything, he didn’t try to pitch me on anything.”
Why would one of Boston’s most important players completely remove himself from wooing the best free agent in basketball? As it turns out, Durant and Bradley are very close friends.
“He was my friend before all of this,” Durant said. “We were close before all of this. So for him, it didn’t really matter where I went to play basketball. … I know the level of respect he has for this organization, but I think me being his friend was even more important to him. That’s the type of people you really appreciate and really love.”
Durant and Bradley both spent one year at the University of Texas before turning pro: Durant in 2006-07, Bradley in 2009-10. And while they didn’t overlap in the Longhorns’ basketball program, the pair got to know each other well when Durant returned to campus for summer school. They even were workout partners for an entire summer, according to Durant.
“Me and AB, I’ve been knowing him since he was a junior in high school,” Durant said. “When he came to Texas, we kind of bunked up together in the summer going to summer school and working out every single day. So, that’s my guy, man. I got nothing but love for AB.”
Bradley is enjoying a very good season so far, averaging 18.5 points per game and leading the Celtics in rebounds with 8.7 per game. Durant is glad to see his pal succeeding.
“I’m excited that he’s out there playing extremely well,” Durant said. “He has a huge role on this team, and a lot of people look at him as a defender, but he’s rounded out his game very nicely. Me and AB are very tight.”
That relationship apparently wasn’t enough to convince Durant to choose Boston over Golden State, but it appears there’s plenty of mutual respect between the two — unlike Durant and one of Bradley’s teammates.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images