Could the Boston Celtics be a frontrunner in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes?
No, this isn't 2016, and the Celtics aren't planning to send a convoy to The Hamptons to recruit the star forward in free agency. But amid reports that Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are at an impasse in contract negotiations, Durant reportedly is mulling his own future with the franchise.
Durant is under contract through 2026 on a four-year, $194 million supermax contract, and it would take a mammoth trade package to acquire one of the best players of this generation. If Durant does request a trade, however, would the Celtics be one of the teams he considers joining?
Former Celtic and NBC Sports Boston color analyst Brian Scalabrine believes so.
"Let's link a few things," Scalabrine said Thursday night on Celtics Post Up, as seen in the video above. "One, Kevin Durant, when he was available before (going to) the Warriors (in 2016 free agency), he was linked to be with Al Horford. That was a thing out there.
Durant indeed has been complimentary of Smart in the past, calling the Celtics point guard a "terrific competitor" in 2016. The superstar also won a gold medal with Udoka and Tatum at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and even predicted that Tatum would break his record for the most points scored in Team USA history.
Durant should have a level of respect for the Celtics as well after they stifled him and the Nets en route to a first-round playoff sweep. If KD is serious about winning another championship, then the team that just won the Eastern Conference should be on his short list.
"Of all the teams that are available, I think it's legit that you talk to the Celtics," Scalabrine added. "... That is a legit legacy move for Kevin Durant. ... The move to Brooklyn was not a great move. He can salvage that by coming here (to Boston) and joining up with some people that he has respect for and connections with."
This is all a pipe dream for now, and it's still unclear whether the Celtics actually could pull off a trade for Durant. They'd likely have to send Jaylen Brown, at least one other core player and a host of first-round picks to Brooklyn to get a deal done, and they'd be saddled with Durant's massive contract through his age-37 season.
But if Durant is serious about leaving Brooklyn, there's evidence to suggest the Celtics at least would entice him as a possible destination.