NBA Exec Explains Why Celtics Are ‘Stuck’ In Kevin Durant Trade Rumors

Will the outside noise lead to any discomfort in Boston?


August 12

In theory, the Celtics might not even be that motivated to acquire Nets superstar Kevin Durant.

But Boston likely will be mentioned in trade rumors until Brooklyn resolves its situation with KD or finds a trade partner. And there’s one reason why: Jaylen Brown.

“Jaylen Brown is the single best player we’ve heard tied to this thing, so Brooklyn has to keep that alive,” a league executive told Heavy Sports’ Steve Bulpett. “I still don’t know how real that is, and, trust me, we’ve been trying to find out for our own sake.”

The Celtics just came within two wins of a championship, losing to the Golden State Warriors in six games in the NBA Finals, and already strengthened their roster this offseason by trading for Malcolm Brogdon and signing Danilo Gallinari. Boston president of basketball operations Brad Stevens could toss his feet up for the rest of the summer and like his team’s chances of contending for a title.

Yet, the Durant rumors persist, with the 12-time All-Star requesting a trade and then reportedly giving Nets owner Joe Tsai an ultimatum. The Celtics remain at the forefront of speculation, and some even believe Boston ultimately will land Durant in exchange for a package centered around Brown.

If not, the C’s might need to smooth things over with their young star. This isn’t the first time Brown has been mentioned in trade rumors during his six-year NBA career, but the current chatter certainly is unique given his continued ascent and the significant role he played in Boston’s most recent playoff run.

“There may be nothing there at all, or maybe there’s something if Brooklyn gets back to reality with what they’re asking for,” the league exec told Bulpett. “But unless they can find another deal for Durant or they work things out with him, a team like Boston is stuck in this — the rumors and the whispers around the league at least — because they’ve got really good players.

“I’m sure Brad has talked to Brown and they’re all cool, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t going to be uncomfortable.”

Brown said immediately after the NBA Finals he couldn’t wait until the 2022-23 season — a comment the Celtics reminded everyone of Thursday when dropping an interesting hype video on Twitter — and perhaps nothing really has changed regarding his relationship with the organization.

Still, the outside noise is impossible to ignore. And the volume figures to remain turned up in Boston until the Durant saga reaches its conclusion, whatever that might be.

Such is life when you’re talking about a player as good as Brown on a team as good as the Celtics.

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