What’s Worst-Case Scenario For Celtics After Kevin Durant Trade Request?

Durant landing with the Miami Heat wouldn't be ideal

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The reported trade request of Kevin Durant briefly was viewed as a positive development for the Celtics — despite the fact Boston probably shouldn’t offer what it takes to acquire him.

But an ensuing report noting how Durant included the Miami Heat on his list of desired landing spots might have been met with a bit more concern. And for good reason. Durant being traded to South Beach where he would likely join Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and others is far from ideal for the Celtics. It might even be the worst-case scenario.

Boston, in pursuit of reaching the NBA Finals, defeated Miami in the seventh and final game of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals. The Celtics claimed their first conference championship during the Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown era before losing to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics largely were able to do beat the Heat because Miami lacked scoring depth outside of Butler and a few impactful nights from Adebayo.

Miami brought a physicality on the defensive end which made it tough for Boston’s offense to find its rhythm. That physicality ultimately was what helped Miami push the series to seven games as the Celtics were far and away the more talented group. But if Durant, arguably the best shot-maker and offensive player in the league, was to join the Heat, it would present much more of a challenge.

The Heat ranked 13th in offensive rating during the regular season and eighth in offensive rating during the postseason. The numbers would jump rather dramatically with Durant in the fold, improving the group even if Miami’s impressive defense took a small step back.

The Phoenix Suns reportedly were the other team included on Durant’s short list of suitors. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also noted how the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers could be in the mix, too. There likely will be many more who come into play. But those teams — all of whom play in the Western Conference and would move to title contenders — still would not be as troubling for the Celtics as Miami would.

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