NBA Insider Adds Important Context To Kevin Durant-Celtics Trade Rumors

Jaylen Brown's contract with Boston raises additional questions


July 25, 2022

The Boston Celtics’ reported pursuit of Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant might be as complicated as it is fascinating.

You see, it’s not as simple as asking whether the Celtics would rather have Durant or Jaylen Brown, whom Boston reportedly included in an offer for KD. The two are at different stages of their respective NBA careers, other pieces are involved in a potential deal and the Celtics’ willingness to trade Brown ultimately might stem as much from his contract situation as it does their desire to land Durant.

ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst focused on that last point Monday during an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show,” offering important context as it relates to Brown’s long-term future in Boston.

“Jaylen Brown has a contract that he’s very likely not going to extend,” Windhorst said. “In the NBA, when you’re in a contract and you want to extend your contract, as we just recently saw, for example, with Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns, you can only extend your contract a certain percent. It’s one of the arcane rules. And so even if Jaylen Brown was over-the-moon excited with the Celtics, even if they had gone 82-0 last year and he had averaged 50 points a game and shot 100 percent from the field and he was telling people he never wanted to leave the city of Boston again in his life, he would not extend his contract, because the contract he’s in right now limits how much he can extend for.

“So, the Celtics, as they look long-term, are probably facing Jaylen Brown eventually becoming an unrestricted free agent on them in two years and them not having control over where he’s going to go. On the grand scheme of problems confronting the Celtics, it’s not sitting there on the front burner. But it is something that’s an issue out there. By the way, this is exactly the core reason why the San Antonio Spurs traded Dejounte Murray.”

ESPN NBA front office insider Bobby Marks, a former assistant general manager with the Nets, raised a similar point Monday morning after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Celtics have emerged among the teams engaged in talks for Durant and The Athletic’s Shams Charania added details regarding the discussions.

Basically, Brown, who turns 26 in October, is under contract with Boston for two more seasons, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. Durant, who turns 34 in September, has four years remaining on his deal with Brooklyn.

“I don’t think the Celtics are sitting there scheming about where they can trade Jaylen Brown: ‘Oh my god, we’ve got to trade him,’ ” Windhorst said Monday. “I think they realize there’s a coming issue with his contract and if you’re ever going to trade him, why would you not trade him to get a player in Kevin Durant who can take you closer to a championship? I don’t think they’re making calls offering Jaylen Brown around, but when this offer presented itself, or this situation, I think they were remiss not to at least explore it.

“It doesn’t mean they don’t like (Brown). Of course, I understand that that would be the premise out there. Once something like this gets out there, then it’s like, ‘Oh my god, they want to get rid of him, they hate him, they’re going to get rid of him in the next five minutes, he wants out of there.’ That’s not necessarily true, but I realize that it’s all buried in nuance and it’s not always going to get translated.”

Like we said, it’s complicated — and very, very, very intriguing.

Thumbnail photo via Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports Images
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