The long and winding road that leads to Kevin Durant playing in green next season

Boston Celtics Kevin Durant (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Boston Celtics Kevin Durant (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /

Amid a cold-war of leaks and trade propositions (including the Boston Celtics) for a generational talent in Anthony Davis, another generational talent is seemingly being forgotten in Kevin Durant. Durant is a free-agent this off-season, with his eventual destination becoming a title-contender and or title-favorite immediately.

While Kevin Durant may not want to speak about his free-agency, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t allowed to dream.

Recent reports have indicated that Anthony Davis is adamant on his prior position that he is not interested in signing long term in Boston. The Celtics did not make the shortlist of teams that Davis would consider re-signing with.

Whether these reports are taken with a grain of salt or not – Kevin Garnett was in a similar situation before he was eventually traded to Boston and we know how that turned out – the truth remains that gutting the young core of the team might not be the best route. Especially so when considering the injury history and the cloud of uncertainty that will follow Anthony Davis would he so happen to be traded to Boston.

Jayson Tatum is likely to be the center of any trade that would bring Davis to Boston: he is the best prospect on the Celtics and a better trade-piece than any player that has been mentioned in Davis trade talks.

Moreover, while most people would take Anthony Davis over Jayson Tatum in a heartbeat – Davis is averaging 29.3 and 13.3 on 51% from the field – there is a route that the Celtics can take where they improve the team and keep their young player, as well as their future picks, ensuring long-term stability.

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It is no secret now that Kevin Durant seriously considered the Celtics as an option before opting to go to the Bay Area. If the Warriors had closed out that finals series, there’s a good chance that Durant would already be in green. Additionally, recent reports indicate that Kevin Durant has expressed interest in joining the Celtics this offseason.

Check out Ryan Bernardoni’s piece, which did an excellent job of breaking the story and explaining all the logistics on what steps would need to be taken for Durant to come to Boston. To summarize, the Celtics would need to include the contract of Hayward or Horford in a sign-and-trade to make this deal work.

On a conceptual level, a team built around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, surrounded by either Hayward or Horford, and complemented by Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown is much more multi-dimensional than whatever is left of the roster after a potential trade with the Pelicans.

There is no denying the combination of talent and youth that Davis possesses, but a trade combination of Tatum, Brown, Smart, and picks is a much heftier price to pay than losing Hayward or Horford.

If the Celtics were able to pull off the Durant sign-and-trade, they would also set an unprecedented example in the league. Most teams going all in either trade away their picks for veteran role players or are successful to the point as to where their picks lack significant value.

With a Durant sign-and-trade, the Celtics will be able to keep their Sacramento Kings pick, the Grizzlies pick, and the Clippers pick next year. By doing this, the Celtics will ensure long term stability and prolonged dominance led by Tatum and Brown and whomever these picks pan out to be, along with immediate contender status with two of the league’s finest players in Irving and Durant.

The negatives with this move have everything to do with the morality of the would be discarded players. Trading away Hayward after he chose to sign in Boston doesn’t bode well for the Celtics. For a team that is already scrutinized for trading away Isaiah Thomas, after what he did for the team, trading away a free agent after no more than one season wouldn’t manifest Boston as an ideal destination.

However, the NBA is a business. Danny Ainge has a job to do as well, and that is to give the Celtics the best chance at winning a title each and every year. Undoubtedly, surrounding Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant with the majority of the Celtics supporting cast achieves that goal.

Next. Anthony Davis still won't commit to Celtics long-term. dark

At the end of the day, Danny Ainge’s plans are everchanging. He is as unpredictable as they come, especially considering the level of uncertainty with what this Celtics’ roster might look like by the start of next season. What is known, is that Ainge possesses the track record and the history of competence to assure all fans that whatever moves are made in free agency and through trades, the Boston Celtics will continue to contend for years down the road.