Sports

The Celtics Shouldn’t Mortgage Their Future For Kevin Durant

Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens looks on prior to Game Two of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on May 19, 2022 in Miami, Florida.
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

 

On Monday, it was reported that the Boston Celtics were trying to get in on the Kevin Durant sweepstakes.

They made an initial offer to the Brooklyn Nets, which included All-Star wing Jaylen Brown, which was denied.

The Celtics are coming off a loss in the NBA Finals which made it clear they need more depth and overall help on the offensive end.

At first glance, it may look like Durant would give them what they’ve been missing and put them over the top.

However, given Durant’s overall situation, the Celtics would be sacrificing up to a decade of title contention for one or two years of prime Durant, and even that is no guarantee.

 

Durant Comes With Significant Risks

A strong case could be made that, when healthy, Durant is the best player in the NBA.

After all, he did average 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 3-point range.

But “when healthy” hasn’t been happening enough for Durant or the Nets.

Ever since he tore his Achilles during the 2019 NBA Finals, he has had trouble remaining healthy.

Over the last two seasons, Durant has appeared in a total of just 90 regular season games due to multiple ailments.

At age 33 (he will turn 34 in late September), counting on him to stay healthy for at least 70 regular season contests and all through the playoffs is a risky bet.

Plus, he is at the point where there is no telling how many elite or near-elite years he has left.

He could end up like LeBron James and still be one of the best in the league when he enters his late-30s, or he could decline significantly very soon.

When a team like the Celtics is very close to winning it all and has already made nice improvements to its roster this summer, there is no need to roll the dice on someone such as Durant.

 

The Celtics Have A Very Good Setup As It Is

Boston has not only one of the NBA’s best rosters, but it is a relatively young roster that can continue to contend for championships for possibly another decade.

Brown and Jayson Tatum are only in their mid-20s and haven’t even reached their prime yet, while Marcus Smart and new addition Malcolm Brogdon are still in their late 20s.

Tatum hasn’t reached Durant’s heights, at least not yet, but like Durant, he is a long forward with ample athleticism, outstanding one-on-one shot-creation skills and defensive ability.

If Tatum becomes a consistently strong shooter from outside of the paint, he could become a Durant-like player, especially in terms of his efficiency, which is the main bone of contention for him right now.

The Celtics aren’t exactly in a desperate situation right now, and that means they shouldn’t make a desperate move such as trading a young, ascendent star for a superstar who is nearing the tail end of his career.




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