The main bargaining chip the Celtics are using is offering Jaylen Brown, their star wing player.
The Nets and Celtics entered trade discussions for Kevin Durant, per @ShamsCharania
Boston reportedly offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a draft pick for Durant, but the Nets also wanted Marcus Smart, more draft picks and potentially one more rotation player pic.twitter.com/qTvOQezcx3
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 25, 2022
Of course, it will take a whole lot more than Brown to land Durant in Beantown, as the Nets are reportedly asking for a cornucopia of players and assets in return for the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
There is an argument to be made that the Celtics shouldn’t trade for Durant, given his age and history injury, as well as the fact that they may be on the verge of greatness as is.
At the same time, there are those who feel Brown isn’t all that and isn’t untouchable if Durant is indeed available.
Brown Is Very Good, But Not Great
The third pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Brown gradually emerged into a borderline star for Boston.
His first three seasons were quiet, but he blossomed in the 2019-20 campaign, averaging 20.3 points and 6.4 rebounds a game while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 38.2 percent from 3-point range.
The following year, Brown made his first All-Star team, and this past season, he put up 23.6 points a game while also improving his playmaking, as he averaged 3.5 assists a contest.
On the other hand, his outside shooting efficiency dipped to 35.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Brown also has a reputation as a strong defender.
Jaylen brown’s defense on Miami Heat players last night:
Jimmy Butler: 1-4 FG & 2 TOV
Duncan Robinson: 1-4 FG
Tyler Herro: 1-4 FG
Jae Crowder: 0-1 FG & 1 TOV
Bam Adebayo: 0-1 FG & 1 TOV
Goran Dragic: 0-1 FG & 1 TOV
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) September 20, 2020
But for all his talent and skill, Brown doesn’t have any real top-shelf ability.
After six seasons in the league, he has not made an All-NBA or All-Defensive Team, and opposing teams don’t fear him nearly as much as plenty of perennial All-Stars.
On the other hand, Brown’s teammate Jayson Tatum has become a better scorer, rebounder and playmaker, and he has been an All-Star the past three seasons while making two All-NBA squads.
Tatum is clearly the centerpiece of the Celtics, and it looks like there is no way they would even consider putting him in a potential Durant deal.
BREAKING: The Celtics and Nets have had trade discussions regarding Kevin Durant — Jayson Tatum is reportedly “off limits”, per @wojespn.
Here we go. 🍿 pic.twitter.com/Y4vrnHFOCp
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) July 25, 2022
Trading a package centered around Brown may be the right way to acquire a true superstar, but is Durant the right superstar?
Durant Comes With Risks
Even since he tore his Achilles during the 2019 NBA Finals, Durant hasn’t exactly been very durable.
He has appeared in just 90 games over the past two seasons, mostly due to a hamstring injury and a sprained MCL.
Durant is also going to turn 34 in late September, and at that age, it’s anyone’s guess how many more great years he has left in him.
When he has been on the court lately, however, he has been arguably the best player in basketball, averaging 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game this past season while shooting 51.8 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from downtown.
Is giving up a 25-year-old borderline star, several other young complementary players and multiple future first-round draft picks worth it for one or two years of prime Durant that could end up being marred by injury?