Arguably the biggest question continues to offer conflicting answers when it comes to the reports tying the Boston Celtics to Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant.
The initial report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski early Monday morning indicated the Celtics had been engaged in talks regarding a trade for Durant. That was then followed up by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, who took it a step further and reported the Celtics had offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and NBA draft capital for Durant. Both reports indicated conversations between the Celtics and Nets took place previously.
From that point on, though, there have been differences regarding one crucial question: Exactly when did the Celtics have conversations with the Nets regarding a trade for Durant?
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Monday afternoon the Celtics and Nets were not engaged in “fresh” talks. Boston’s discussions on Durant, Windhorst reported, likely were “weeks old.” Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported a similar timeline while sharing Boston’s conversations were considered by both teams as part of the Nets’ first stage of negations. Fischer added how the discussions came weeks ago at the beginning of July.
Durant reportedly requested his trade from the Nets on June 30, though reports about his uncertain future started before that. Initial reports on the Celtics trading for Malcolm Brogdon took place July 1 while initial reports on Danilo Gallinari’s interest in Boston also surfaced July 1. If the Celtics were holding preliminary conversations with the Nets at that point, as hinted at by Windhorst and Fischer, it’s fair to think those additions might have resulted in Boston backing off Durant. The additions greatly improved their team.
However, ESPN’s Zach Lowe, during “The Lowe Post” podcast released Tuesday morning, contradicted Windhorst’s report and used July 16th as a date to indicate “something real” had happened recently. Lowe noted the timetable he’s heard was “fresh” and could indicate ongoing discussions. Charania also went on NBC Sports Boston on Monday and said Boston emerged as a real threat for Durant in the last couple of weeks, specifically sharing a timeline of two to three weeks. Both reports seem to indicate a timeframe after the Celtics either knew they would acquire or had already acquired Brogdon and Gallinari.
Those details matter. The timeframe matters.
Obviously, there’s a massive difference between the Celtics having exploratory talks days after Durant made his trade request as opposed to discussing the framework of a deal within the last week or so. Unfortunately, we might not receive the truth anytime in the near future — unless, of course, the Celtics do follow through on a trade for Durant.
After all, it benefits the Celtics to depict the talks for Durant as preliminary or exploratory. It would be a way to try to salvage things with Brown. On the other hand, it benefits the Nets, as Brooklyn looks to maintain or even drive up the price for Durant, if it depicts those talks to be current or ongoing.
For now, we’ll just have to wait to see how it plays out, but it’s undoubtedly a pivotal piece of a much bigger puzzle.