Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Report: Nets initially asked Celtics for Tatum and Brown in Durant trade

Boston Celtics Vs. Brooklyn Nets At Barclays Center

Brooklyn - April 25: The Celtics Jayson Tatum and the Nets Kevin Durant shared a lengthy hug following the Boston victory. The Boston Celtics visited the Brooklyn Nets for Game Four of their first round NBA playoff series at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on April 25, 2022. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Boston Globe via Getty Images

It’s a basic negotiation strategy: Make your first offer ridiculously high, ask for everything, and negotiate down to what you really want out of the deal.

Sean Marks took that to heart in his first talks with Brad Stevens and the Celtics, reports Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.

According to the source, Brooklyn initially tried to pry both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown from Boston. That proposal went nowhere, of course. The source confirmed recent reports that Brooklyn later shifted its focus to a deal centered on Brown, Marcus Smart, and a massive haul of future first-round draft picks. But the Celtics were not interested.

How long did it take Brad Stevens to stop laughing after that first request?

It goes without saying Tatum is untouchable. The Celtics reportedly offered Brown, Derrick White and a first-round pick, and the negotiations progressed from there. Himmelsbach also confirmed that there is no real traction in talks right now.

The concern for Boston in all this is alienating Brown, who was not happy to see his name come up in trade talks.

Boston is not keeping secrets from Brown through all of this.

But a league source said Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens and coach Ime Udoka communicate with Brown “all the time” and have kept him in the loop, adding that Brown seems to understand the situation.

Part of why the trade talks have stalled out — and why Durant was trying to light a fire under them with his oddly-timed ultimatum — is the time of year. There is no pressure, no urgency right in August. The season is a couple of months away and everyone is talking about NFL training camps and baseball’s playoff chase. As we get closer to NBA training camps (team media days are Sept. 26), that pressure will start to ramp up again. At that point, we will see if the Nets have the stomach to do what Daryl Morey did in the Ben Simmons situation — hold on to a star player into the season and deal with the distraction to wait for the right offer — or if Nets GM Sean Marks and owner Joe Tsai will just want to make it go away and take the best offer on the table.

For now, we all wait and talk about wild rumors, such as asking for Tatum.