Celtics

Celtics

Between a playoff flameout and rumors of Kyrie Irving going to every city but Boston, it's been a rough few weeks for Celtics fans.

So, why not dream a little?

Ryan Bernardoni, the NBA salary cap guru known as @dangercart on Twitter, joined NBC Sports Boston's "Celtics Talk" podcast to entertain the dream scenario of all dream scenarios: Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant and New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis both team up with Irving in Boston this offseason.

It's obviously a far-fetched scenario; the Celtics reportedly are in the hunt for Davis but would be a long-shot to land Durant, who reportedly favors the New York Knicks if he leaves Golden State in the first place.

But let's just suppose Irving wants to play with his two close friends in Boston. As Bernardoni explains, it's not impossible for the Celtics to pull it off.

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Here's how: Durant, who has a 2019-20 player option worth $31.5 million, would need to opt into that final year rather than hit free agency then request a trade to the Celtics, as Chris Paul did in 2017 to go from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Houston Rockets.

"(Durant is) making over $30 million a year, and he has a trade bonus that would actually knock him up pretty close to his max for next year, so it's not like it would cost him a ton of money next year to do this," Bernardoni points out.

 

The C's would have to trade a "big salary" like Al Horford or Gordon Hayward to Golden State to make the deal work. Bernardoni suggests Horford, who has a player option for $30.1 million next season and has expressed a desire to play for a contender, as the centerpiece.

In theory, Boston could make that trade and deal with the Pelicans for Davis as part of a three-team blockbuster.

"Now you're sending out quite a lot of salary, and even though you're receiving a lot of salary, you only have to match 80 percent of salaries," Bernardoni says. "And you're sending more than 80 percent, so you can take that remaining amount and roll that into a three-team trade with Anthony Davis."

Acquiring two NBA superstars obviously would cost the C's a wealth of draft picks and young assets like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. But on paper, Boston may have the resources to house Durant, Davis and Irving under one roof.

"You actually can make it work without that being all that more difficult in Boston, just by doing it with trades and opt-ins," Bernardoni says. "And honestly, the money would work with the players pretty well, because Durant would get close to his max, and then he would sign a five-year max after that and he'd be making $50 million as a 36-year-old.

"Kyrie and Anthony Davis probably are going to sign shorter contracts than their full length (deals) so they can get to 10 years (service time) and get their full max. Financially, it would kind of work for everybody."

Bernardoni added this is very much a "pie-in-the-sky" scenario. But Durant to Boston and Davis to Boston both are possibilities that have been discussed, and we're not putting anything past C's president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

And if nothing else, dreams of AD and KD in Boston can help C's fans get through a nervous month of rumors before NBA free agency begins July 1.

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