Kevin Durant reportedly requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, and while some figure out offers for the superstar, teams like the Boston Celtics can look at other members of the roster for upgrades.
In a follow-up report, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted the entire roster is available in trade talks. It’s likely the Nets are willing to put up players to make salaries work in return for young prospects and draft picks, but it would behoove Brooklyn to unload veterans on its roster and tank for French prospect Victor Wembanyama — the projected No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft — or G-League Ignite prospect Scoot Henderson.
While a trade for Durant is tempting, Boston is likely to keep Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown together. The Celtics are in need of bench depth, and the Nets have two other players who are realistic targets.
Curry, 31, was a mid-season acquisition from the Philadelphia 76ers and filled in for Irving when he was unavailable. The younger brother of Steph is on his eighth team in 10 years, but it’s not due to an absent of talent. Curry has been on team-friendly contracts that have allowed franchises to trade for him heading into the playoffs.
The Celtics can use that boost. In his 10-year NBA career, Curry is shooting 43.9 % from the 3-point line on 4.4 shots per game. For context, Derrick White shot 30.6% from beyond the arc on 4.3 shots per game in the 2021-22 season, and Al Horford shot the same number of shots in the playoffs and made 48% of his 3-pointers.
Curry would fit perfectly with the Celtics as a target man for the drive-and-kick games of Marcus Smart, Tatum and Brown. He is an expiring free agent on an $8.4 million contract, which makes him affordable enough for Boston.
Harris comes with risk at a slightly higher price than Curry, but he is an interesting buy-low option for Boston. The 30-year-old sharpshooter led the league in 3-point shooting at 47.5 %, but ankle injuries slowed Harris down and cut the 2021-22 season short. Harris is the franchise leader in 3-pointers, passing Jason Kidd’s record of 813 in just six seasons, and he is a career 43.9% from beyond the arc.
Harris has two years left on his contract and is set to make $18.6 million and $19.9 million, respectively. This makes using the traded-player exception alone impossible, meaning the Celtics would have to give up an extra asset. However, despite the Boston being so young, the title window is now. The Celtics were willing to part away with a first-round pick for White, and they’ll have to be willing to do so again if they want a high-quality player — they’ll also have to potentially pay on the luxury tax.
Like Curry, Harris makes a perfect target man on the drive-and-kick game and is a capable defender. Harris was once seen as one of the best shooters in the game until his injury, and if his ankle injuries haven’t slowed him down, he can once again show that talent on a contending team like the Celtics.