The Boston Celtics tried like hell to convince Kevin Durant to come to Boston, and they even brought in the big guns. In the end, it still wasn’t enough.
The Celtics met with the coveted free agent Friday in the Hamptons, one of just a handful of teams lucky enough to secure a sitdown with the former NBA MVP.
Ultimately, Durant surprised the basketball world by leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with the Golden State Warriors. However, it sounds like the Celtics made an impressive pitch and actually were in the running to land the swingman.
The Celtics’ surprising bargaining chip, of course, was New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. We now know to what extent Brady helped the recruiting efforts, as Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge opened up to The Boston Globe about the Celtics’ meeting with Durant.
“Tom and I are close,” Ainge explained to the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy. “We’ve talked many times before. So I called Tom and talked with him and exchanged texts in preparation for our meeting with KD Saturday. Tom only had one day off in Boston. He’d been with his family in Costa Rica and we’d been exchanging messages while he was there.”
Brady eventually agreed to join the Celtics, flying to the Hamptons with members of the Celtics’ brass. The group eventually met up with a handful of Celtics players and head coach Brad Stevens. Before the meeting with Durant, Brady and the Celtics contingent went to lunch where Brady might have made his biggest impact of the trip.
“I think it was just as much fun for all of us to be around Tom Brady and just talk to him,” Ainge explained to the Globe. “Our players were really infatuated and excited to meet with Tom Brady and just talk to him about fitness and training at his age and how he stays so healthy. There was a lot of discussion about that over lunch. It was fun listening to Tom teach our young guys.”
Eventually, the caravan moved to Durant’s rented house. Brady’s sales pitch was the one everyone expected it to be, as Ainge said “Tom talked a little bit about the Celtics and Boston and what its’ like as a city and how they embrace sports.”
The two sides talked for a while — Ainge told the Globe the meeting lasted roughly three hours — before Durant ultimately chose Golden State.
Still, Ainge expressed his gratitude for Brady joining him, echoing a report from earlier this week.
“I think it had some impact on KD for sure, but how much, I don’t know,” Ainge told the Globe. “You could tell there was a great deal of mutual respect. Tom did a great job for us and we’re very grateful, regardless of the outcome. It was a good experience for us.”
No word on whether the Celtics somehow tried to use this as part of their presentation, though.
That’s just a relatively small snippet from Ainge’s side of the story, which is fascinating to read.
Durant thumbnail photo via Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports Images
Brady thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images