Even though a Kevin Durant trade remains fantastical given the mountain of picks and players needed, the Toronto Raptors are one of just a handful of teams with the requisite pieces needed to jigsaw together a respectable offer. However, another contender in the division appears to have joined the fray.
The Boston Celtics are fresh off making the NBA Finals, but Brad Stevens could look to get creative with the roster after getting stonewalled by the Warriors. Even if it means that Jaylen Brown is on the move, Stevens is willing to bring Durant to Beantown.
According to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Celtics offered the Nets a package headlined by Brown and their collection of draft picks. After emerging as a viable All-Star Brown is more than worthy of being the headliner in a Durant return package.
While the Suns appear to have flaked away thanks to Deandre Ayton and the Heat lack the assets needed to interest Brooklyn, this latest development is bad news for Toronto. The Celtics may be the only team who could beat out the Raptors, which should be highly concerning news.
The Toronto Raptors must look out for the Boston Celtics.
If the Celtics are willing to move Brown, who is a better trade piece than anyone Toronto can offer short of Barnes or Pascal Siakam, they could leap to the front of the KD race. With role players like Robert Williams, Derrick White, and Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart also on the roster, Boston can make an attractive package.
If a deal headlined by Brown was still not good enough for the Nets, the Raptors’ throwing Anunoby and Trent at Brooklyn is unlikely to interest them. This could drive the collection of desired assets up to a point where Toronto is unwilling to go.
Brown himself is apparently less than thrilled with being mentioned in the Durant package. Did Boston just inadvertently upset one of their big moneymakers? If so, that could create a sense of urgency between Boston and Brooklyn that leaves Toronto on the outside looking in.
The Raptors still have one of the most realistic chances when it comes to landing Durant in a trade, but they need to be aware of the fact that Boston could easily swoop in and take that No. 1 spot away from them if Brown is considered a moveable asset. KD and Jayson Tatum paired with that Celtics defense would be a nightmare.