There’s a part of Mike Greenberg that doesn’t want to see Kevin Durant rocking a Celtics uniform in the near future.
This isn’t because the ESPN personality believes Durant and Jayson Tatum aren’t capable of being a highly successful tandem. Greenberg also sees a scenario in which a potential trade return to Brooklyn — which very likely would include Jaylen Brown — helps usher in a promising new era for the Nets.
Greenberg’s gripe is that the Celtics appear to be on the verge of getting it done “the old-fashioned way,” and he doesn’t want to see Boston’s homegrown core broken up after flirting with the NBA mountaintop.
“There’s something about it I would hate,” Greenberg said Tuesday on his radio show. “There’s something about Tatum and Brown I love. This feels like the way the sport always used to be. They drafted two really good young players and we watched them go through their struggles. The same way we watched Isiah Thomas and all those Pistons unable to get through the Larry Bird Celtics. Couldn’t do it, couldn’t do it, couldn’t do it, finally beat them and went on and won championships. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen those Bulls teams couldn’t beat the Pistons, couldn’t do it, couldn’t do it, couldn’t do it, finally broke through and became the champs.
“Then we got into an era where teams and players are just going from here to there every 10 minutes and there’s no — you don’t get to see a team develop. You don’t get to see stars develop together. You get to see them thrown together like they’re an AAU team. The Celtics kind of had the old-time feel. They finally got out of the East. We watched them fall short, just short. How many times are they going to fall short getting out of the East? They finally did it. They’re in the championship, they lose in six hard games to Steph Curry. There’s no shame in that. They lost to an all-time great player and an all-time great team.
“They’re right there among the favorites. I want to see it continue. The basketball fan in me wants to see it continue. So even though I think that it might be the best trade the Nets could make and it might be the best thing the Celtics could do at least in the short-term interest of winning a championship, the somewhat nostalgic, sentimental, old-fart basketball fan in me does not want to see it.”
There’s surely a sector of Celtics fans who feel the same way as Greenberg. While all fanbases, in any sport, would welcome a championship any way it comes, there is something to a team winning it all with players who’ve called the same city home for an extended period of team.