Boston Celtics: Hardwood Houdini’s definitive Kevin Durant trade proposal

This is Hardwood Houdini's definitive Boston Celtics trade proposal for Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
This is Hardwood Houdini's definitive Boston Celtics trade proposal for Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

Since the NBA offseason began following a crushing Game 6 Finals defeat for the Boston Celtics to the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, the talk of the town around these parts has been the possibility of the Cs acquiring Kevin Durant in trade with the Brooklyn Nets. Whether it’s been figuring out who the team would include in a deal–Robert Williams being included in any talks also involving Jaylen Brown is considered a ‘nonstarter‘ by Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston–or figuring out what other stars are worth the same consideration (not Bradley Beal), it’s been a busy time deciphering how the team will move forward following a near-Finals triumph.

The reason why such rumors exist at all is that extension talks between his teammate and friend Kyrie Irving and the Nets have become ‘acrimonious’ and could result in the former Celtics point guard being traded or opting out of his deal to hit the free-agent market. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, Durant is ‘monitoring the Brooklyn Nets’ situation and considering options with his future’.

Should Brooklyn put Durant on the trade block, the Cs would immediately become a prime destination for the 2x NBA Finals MVP who has won a total of seven playoff games in three seasons under contract with the Nets.

The seven-foot supremely skilled combo forward signed a contract extension last summer for four years and nearly $200 million, but that was before his team was swept unceremoniously by the Celtics in the playoffs’ first round and Irving played just 29 regular season games — in part due to his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine and honor New York City’s vaccine mandate before it was dropped in March.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see KD want out, and if he does, Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens needs to use it as a chance to team him up with the best two-way player he’d have ever co-starred with, Jayson Tatum. If we were in control of Stevens’ neurological functions, this would be the definitive trade proposal Hardwood Houdini would make to land Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets in a league-shifting blockbuster:

Why the Boston Celtics do it

Functionally, Kevin Durant could slide right into Jaylen Brown’s role in the Celtics offense without the team missing a beat. While this writer has previously thought that Marcus Smart would need to be included in any Durant deal, Derrick White’s three years remaining at $52 million might actually be preferable to take on for Brooklyn than Smart’s four remaining years at $77 million. Combined, White and Brown’s salaries work in a straight swap for KD, but that isn’t enough of a return to get things done for both sides.

The two future first-round picks and two future seconds move the needle significantly closer to a deal being struck, but what gets this over the top is the $6.1 million in Patty Mills salary being swapped for the combined $6.5 million salary figure of recent lottery picks Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard. Both are still on their rookie deals though Williams is due for a raise next offseason.

That potential raise is why also giving up Pritchard isn’t too hard of a pill to swallow, especially with a veteran point guard with strong Ime Udoka ties (Patty Mils) coming back in return to take the 2020 first-round pick’s role in the rotation.

This deal gives the Cs a potentially supersized starting five (Marcus Smart-Jayson Tatum-Kevin Durant-Al Horford-Robert Williams III) that’d present constant mismatches and sacrifice little in the wake of the hypothetical loss of Brown.

Why the Brooklyn Nets do it

Jaylen Brown is the most talented player the Nets would be able to acquire in a trade for Kevin Durant. If Brooklyn wants to accept a sunk cost in an investment gone awry from the summer of 2019 (DeAndre Jordan included), this is the best way to keep the team competitive in the interim while restocking the draft cupboard after sending so many selections away in the January 2021 James Harden trade.

A Nets rotation featuring Brown, Ben Simmons, Joe Harris, Seth Curry, Derrick White, Grant Williams, Payton Pritchard, Cam Thomas, and Nic Claxton/whoever they sign in free agency to replace Nic Claxton at center keeps the team in the postseason hunt, assuming Steve Nash could make the pieces fit. Even with the incoming Cs picks being late first-rounders, Brooklyn would move the team forward exponentially by getting this deal done if Irving really is set to leave a third team crumbled in the wake of his tenure and departure.

Next. HH sets the price for acquiring Malcolm Brogdon in a trade. dark