Boston Celtics would've had to trade Jaylen Brown plus a 15 PPG scorer for Kevin Durant

Boston Celtics v Phoenix Suns
Boston Celtics v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

As NBC Sports Boston's John Tomase points out, landing Kevin Durant in the summer of 2022 would've cost the Boston Celtics both Jaylen Brown and Derrick White; a total of 38.2 points per game of production during the 2023-24 season.

"Ainge wined and dined Durant in free agency before he chose the Warriors, and he was constantly linked to him thereafter," Tomase prefaced before saying, "Only two years ago, the rumors of a Durant-for-Brown swap took on new life shortly after the Celtics lost the Finals. Brown had every reason to be miffed, but ultimately didn't go anywhere, and now he's thriving.

"Durant remains great, but he's 35 and has been in the league for 17 years. Acquiring him probably would've cost the Celtics Derrick White, too, and their championship window would already be closing. Instead, that's now Phoenix's problem, especially since Beal, Tatum's childhood mentor, is a defensive liability on the wrong side of 30 who's hardly worth $50 million annually."

Not trading for Kevin Durant turned out to be a great decision for the Boston Celtics

Not only has Brown gotten exponentially better over the last two seasons since the Durant rumors -- having a particularly strong 2022-23 season in the wake of hearing his name thrown into those talks -- but White has evolved into a fan-favorite for Celtics fans. There'd be no magical Game 6 buzzer-beating game-winner in the 2023 Eastern Conference had the Cs pulled the trigger on a KD deal, but there'd also be no historic 2023-24 season in Boston featuring the best starting five in the league -- and one of the greatest starting fives ever assembled, period.

Many assets would've been given up alongside Brown and White considering the cost it took for the Phoenix Suns to land Durant, and so far, there's been a minimal return on investment in the desert with a Big Three of KD, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal that looks unlikely to make it to the west's second round these playoffs.

Everything worked out for the Celtics the way it was supposed to. The same cannot be said for Durant, and that's probably not an accident.