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With Boston in the mix, who is the favorite to land Kevin Durant?

Boston has suddenly emerged as a possible destination for Kevin Durant after he asked the Brooklyn Nets to trade him before the free agent market opened.

Update:
Boston has suddenly emerged as a possible destination for Kevin Durant after he asked the Brooklyn Nets to trade him before the free agent market opened.
Wendell CruzUSA TODAY Sports

The Eastern Conference Champions have emerged as a potential destination for the offseason target of the summer. While reports claim the Celtics might be one of the front runners to lure the Brooklyn Nets into trading Kevin Durant, it is still far from a done deal.

KD’s future still in the air

Kevin Durant shook the free agent market to it’s core when he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets just hours before the market opened. At the beginning of the offseason it looked like Kyrie Irving who would be on his way out of the Barclay’s Center, but now it seems like Durant could be the one shipping out. Or both, which would be catastrophic for a franchise that built a super team with intentions of winning NBA Titles.

The Celtics and the Nets met in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and it was Boston who swept Brooklyn in four games. Jayson Tatum and Jayson Brown dominated the Nets to shut the door on yet another season in which Brooklyn were one of the favorites to win the East.

After the season, the Nets were hoping to either extend Irving or have him sign a player option that would keep him in Brooklyn for another year. Durant’s trade request threw Irving’s plans, the Nets’ plans and KD’s plans into a blender, but trading the 7 foot sharp shooter is proving tougher than expected.

Phoenix and Miami top picks for Durant

There are a list of teams that Kevin Durant talked about wanting to be traded to and Boston was never on that list. The list included the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat, but up until this point, neither team has seemed too eager enough to trade away the type of big name players needed to be involved in a trade with one of the games top players.

The Heat and the Suns believe themselves to have teams that are capable to contending for a championship, and breaking up the base of players that have been together and have made playoff runs over the last couple years may not be worth the risk.

Phoenix have Chris Paul and Devin Booker as the forefront of their back court, but it would be unlikely that either one of them. Deandre Ayton just resigned a long term deal with the Suns and could be used as trade bait along with some key role players like Cam Payne or or Cam Johnson. Even with those players involved the Nets might want more in terms of future draft picks.

KD no stranger to super teams

The Heat are a bit more limited on the return. They have one super star on their roster, but even Jimmy Butler wouldn’t be enough to temp the Nets all on his own. They would have to throw in one of the top sixth men in the league, Tyler Herro in the mix along with draft picks in the future. Heat first round draft pick Nikola Jovic could be included in the trade as well, but it would be a lot for Miami to trade to get Kevin Durant in return.

There is no question that Durant is in the top five players in the league right now, and one of the top scorers ever to play the game, but questions remain as if he can win all on his own. He has had super teams essentially everywhere he went. In Oklahoma City he had Russell Westbrook and James Harden, in Golden State he had Klay Thompson and Steph Curry and in Brooklyn he had Kyrie Irving and James Harden. The only time he was able to win was joining an already proven NBA Champion in Golden State.

Durant is a former MVP, 12 time All-Star and two time NBA Champions and Finals MVP. At the age of 33, he is coming off of one of his best seasons in the league. Despite battling injuries throughout the year, he averaged 29.9 points a game, pulled down 7.4 rebounds and shot 52% from the field. He has four years still left on his contract, world $198 million, which creates a problem in it’s own right.

What the Celtics have to offer

Boston is a team that is coming off a Final run, so they have the firepower on the roster to be able to tempt the Nets with a trade. The question is do they want to trade all that would be needed to bring Durant to the TD Garden.

The Celtics front offices have warned the Nets that their First Team All NBA super star Jayson Tatum is untouchable. That would mean the next top option would be Jaylen Brown, who exploded in the NBA Finals averaging over 23 points per game against the Golden State Warriors. Brown is a blossoming player in the league, and has tremendous upside, but he won’t be enough to make a straight swap for Durant.

If Brooklyn can work out a trade with the Celtics, it will probably mean that Boston have to include some future draft picks. Talks out of Beantown is the Celtics could work out a deal that includes Brown, and at least three unprotected first round picks and two pick swaps over the next six years.

Will they stay or will they go?

If Durant ships out, Irving is likely to look for a way out of Brooklyn as well. While Brown may come to the Barclay’s Center, it would plummet the Nets into a rebuilding phase they likely wouldn’t be able to come out of for a few years.

If the deal goes through, Brooklyn will be hoping the trade turns out like the one that Boston made with the Nets when they sent Kevin Garnett and and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn in exchange for a handful of draft picks. The Celtics would use those draft picks to add Tatum and Brown to Boston.

As the days go on, the odds of the Nets finding a suitable trade for Kevin Durant get slimmer. Ft’s hard to imagine but Durant might be staying in Brooklyn due to a lack of offers.

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