Three reasons why a Kevin Durant for Jaylen Brown trade makes sense for the Nets and Celtics.
As of June 30, the most dramatic story of the NBA offseason has been Kevin Durant’s trade request from the Brooklyn Nets hours before free agency opened. While the trade request has been the biggest story of the offseason since it happened, there has been very little movement to move the deal forward.
The Athletic as well as ESPN both reported that a mystery team is actively bidding for Durant just as it appeared like he might be returning to Brooklyn was the most likely scenario.
Here’s why the Kevin Durant-Jaylen Brown deal is the most realistic
Shams Charania reported on Monday that the Boston Celtics offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, and a draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Durant.
Despite Boston’s offer, Brooklyn reportedly turned down the offer, and also requested additional compensation, likely in the form of Marcus Smart, to compensate for their decision.
It was originally reported that the Boston Celtics were interested in KD, and ESPN also reported “there are no deals believed to have traction for KD at the moment.” Adrian Wojnarowski notes the Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, and Toronto Raptors are all serious contenders for his services.
Several league training camps are set to open on Sept. 26 and it is rumored that Durant still wants to be traded from Brooklyn when they open.
Durant’s contract situation was a catch-22 for the Nets, since he is under contract for four more years, and an obscure NBA rule limits the type of veteran star they can get in exchange for him due to several factors, including his age (he will be 34 years old at the start of the season), his contract situation, and an obscure NBA rule that limits the type of veteran star the Nets can get in exchange.
In spite of the fact that the Nets and Celtics aren’t close on a deal, here are a few reasons why a framework centered around trading Durant for Brown seems like it would be a more viable deal than any other.
There is no Designated Rookie Extension for Jaylen Brown, which helps a lot
Because of a little-known rule within the league that governs the acquisition of players within a trade, it has been more difficult to construct a Durant trade, which can prove to be a difficult task.
In accordance with the NBA’s Designated Rookie Rule, each team is allowed to have two players on five-year contracts following the end of their rookie contracts, but only one of these players may be acquired through a trade or another means after the end of their rookie contracts.
Ben Simmons, who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, is subject to this rule. A five-year rookie extension was signed by Simmons in February, and he was acquired as part of Brooklyn’s James Harden deal in a trade that took place in January.
The likes of Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, and Bam Adebayo, who are currently on five-year rookie contracts, mean that Brooklyn would have to trade Simmons before they could acquire any of these players in a Durant trade.
The contract extension Jaylen Brown signed with Boston in 2019 is four years, $115 million.
Brown and Simmons can both remain on the roster, which makes doing a deal easier for the Nets than most of their rivals.
In a Durant deal, Jaylen Brown may be the best option
A young player of All-Star caliber plus serious draft capital is Brooklyn’s priorities. There may not be a better player available in any potential Durant deal than Brown if we assume the Celtics, Heat, Suns, and Raptors are Durant’s top four suitors. Here are some examples of each package:
- Due to the Designated Rookie Rule, the Heat cannot offer Adebayo a contract. Among their best offers are Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and rookie Nikola Jovic.
- After signing an extension with Deandre Ayton earlier this summer, the Suns cannot trade him this offseason. There would be a focus on Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson in a deal with Phoenix.
- Negotiations are dominated by the Raptors. Would Toronto be willing to trade Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes for Durant? OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. can still be part of a Raptors’ package if not.
It’s likely Barnes will be considered more valuable than Brown because Barnes will be 21 next season, while Brown will be 26. Barnes’ contract status and potential are likely to make him more valuable than Brown as well.
It appears that Toronto has been hesitant and may even be unwilling to include Barnes in a KD trade at this point. Toronto, Phoenix, or Miami cannot offer Durant a better player than Brown without Barnes.
This offer may motivate the Celtics to make a Durant trade now that it is public
It was only two wins away from being the Celtics’ first championship in over a decade last season. As a result of Malcolm Brogdon’s acquisition, the Boston Celtics were able to improve even more this offseason.
There is no doubt that the Celtics, along with the Warriors, Bucks, Clippers, and Nuggets, are some of the most likely contenders for the title next season, whether or not Durant is traded.
The Celtics have been putting a lot of effort into drafting Brown and Tatum (with picks from the Nets via the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade) in 2016 and 2017, respectively, in order to build around them.
The Boston Red Sox may not be the first team to offer one of their young stars in a trade, but it is certainly the most public example of it thus far.
There is no doubt that all professional athletes understand that getting traded is part of the business, but it is hard not to wonder if there will be some hurt feelings for Brown when he sees that his team has offered him to be traded for Durant.
In the unlikely event that the Celtics do not land Durant next season, will Brown be able to return to Boston as if nothing had happened? Most likely, yes.
In addition, it would also be hard to blame Brown if he is feeling salty as a result of this report, as well.
It may be a good idea for Boston to get serious about landing Durant now that this offer has been made public.
It is still possible that the Celtics will not include Smart in the deal, but you can expect that as training camp approaches, the franchise will offer every available draft pick along with Brown to Brooklyn as compensation for Durant.
There may not be a better trade offer for Kevin Durant than the Celtics’
The Durant negotiations are currently beset by two major questions:
- Is Scottie Barnes going to be offered by Toronto?
- Will Boston include Marcus Smart with Jaylen Brown?
It is most likely that the Raptors will have the best offer for Durant if they offer Barnes. In the absence of Smart, the Celtics feel they have the best Durant offer.
Brown was two wins away from a title last season, so why would the Celtics trade him? Upgraded from Brown to Durant gives Boston a better chance of winning the championship. Durant would narrow the Celtics’ championship window, but it would also widen it.
Once again, the Durant derby is getting serious. There is nothing to be surprised about at this point.