NBA Insider: Ime Udoka Gives Celtics Advantage In Kevin Durant Pursuit

'I think Ime Udoka could be a significant factor in recruiting Kevin Durant'


July 26, 2022

The Boston Celtics have been at the forefront of Kevin Durant rumors since it was reported they made an offer for the 12-time All-Star on Monday.

While the Celtics have been dealing with the aftermath relating to Jaylen Brown, others around the sport have continued to discuss how Durant would fit with Boston. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix was the latest, giving an inside look at how the Celtics could land the future Hall of Famer.

“I think Ime Udoka could be a significant factor in recruiting Kevin Durant,” Mannix said in an appearance on NBC Sports Boston. “Not only because of the familiarity Durant has with him because of the season they spent working together in Brooklyn, but Kevin Durant just saw what an Ime Udoka coached team can do in the playoffs, first hand. … He also has, from what I’ve been told, a very good relationship with Al Horford. And that dates back years, to the point where Horford actually considered joining Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City in 2016.

“As far as I know, the Celtics right now are not on Kevin Durant’s preferred team list. But, this is some speculation here, I don’t think it would take much for the Celtics to eventually get there.”

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Udoka and Durant have a significant history with each other, as they spent a year together with the Brooklyn Nets in 2021 before carrying their relationship into the summer with Team USA. Following their first matchup in 2022, Durant razzed Udoka in his postgame press conference.

“It was good to beat Ime,” Durant said, as transcribed by MassLive. “I get excited about coming here and winning in Boston; it’s a tough place to play. But now that Ime is the coach, it makes it even sweeter.”

Having a coach who has a healthy relationship with a superstar can only be a good thing, with Durant undoubtedly feeling more comfortable going to play for Udoka than he would with a coach he’s never been around. That was part of the reason Brooklyn hired Steve Nash, who served as a player development coach with the Golden State Warriors while Durant was there.

Whether Durant ends up in Boston or not is reliant upon more than his relationship with Udoka, but that solid foundation can’t hurt.

Thumbnail photo via Kareem Elgazzar/USA TODAY Sports Images
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