When are trade talks not really trade talks, but assessing a player’s worth or testing out a possible future offer on a star? Front office workers from all 30 NBA teams regularly engage in hypothetical discussions about what a trade between franchises might look like that has little to do with the actual interest of pressing the trigger, except a particularly happy match for both parties.
But there is always the possibility that a party involved in such a scenario will take these conversations and twist them for their own interests, which can cause turbulence in the organization on the other side of the conversation. The image of such a process that may be playing out between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets is still hazy.
But, there seems to be a growing consensus that the Celtics reached out to the Nets to do their due diligence on Kevin Durant’s availability via trade, and in the process found themselves sucked into a leverage game for a lukewarm market for Durant’s services as a result.
Whether these discussions are real and whether you think Boston was seriously entertaining star forward Jaylen Brown depends on who you read.
By now, on a day distant from the initial emergence of those talks, a continuum of reports about those talks was serious enough for those who suggested that was anything but the case.
One thing seems clear: the Nets and Celtics have indeed communicated on the possibility of exchanging for Durant, which is not really surprising given that about half of NBA teams have also made such calls. .
But how serious are these discussions really?
“The Celtics’ most serious discussion – as first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Monday – in which Brad Stevens’ front office was willing to part ways with Jaylen Brown, took place a few weeks ago in early July. “, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, who seems to be among those who believe the Celtics had a serious interest in negotiating for KD.
And as many have noted, such discussions would likely start with Brown, either serious or hypothetically testing the waters. And hypothetical seems to be the preferred setting by veteran Heavy journalist source Steve Bulpett in a recent article on the subject.
“You can ask a team what they think of a certain player of yours, and the next thing you know they’re telling someone you proposed to them,” a manager said. anonymous general. “You didn’t, but that’s how it works sometimes.” It sucks – for you and for the player involved – but that’s the way it is.
“I’m not sure there’s a team that has NOT done their due diligence on this,” another executive in contact with Bulpett shared.
“When the Kevin Durants of the world are available, I’m not sure there’s a team that’s not calling to see if there’s anything that can be done,” they added.
“When you have players of that ilk, and there certainly aren’t many, I think everyone kicks the tires and takes a look to see what would be involved there- inside.”
The truth likely lies somewhere between purely hypothetical investigations and a serious interest in Durant to deal with, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe alluded to in his semi-eponymous “The Lowe Post” podcast with a frequent guest and often analyst. of the Celtics Tim Bontemps.
“Something happened between the Nets and the Celtics, something real,” Lowe offered. “I don’t know how ‘real’ real it was. Because, as (Bontemps) said, everyone talks to everyone all the time. I don’t really know what constitutes reality, but something happened and I couldn’t figure out what exactly that something was when I think that’s about when what happened happened.
Simply put, NBA teams do business with the NBA by exploring all the ways a team COULD improve, then spend time debating internally whether the pros and cons of such a decision are worth the asking price.
“Rumours can be embellished,” writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
“Instead of Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens chatting with Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks and Brown’s name being mentioned, the rumors developed into Stevens dangling Brown, like if it was consumable.”
This does not mean that such speculation – whether intended to be pursued with any degree of seriousness or not – has the potential to be a destabilizing force in itself, as Washburn’s reporting suggests.
Especially when weaponized by other franchises for their own ends, which seems to be what Athletic NBA insider Jared Weiss heard, as he writes that he’s been told “the Nets are looking to drive the market and avoid Durant’s no-show kerfuffle for training camp.
And while Brown has seemed to understand these day-to-day NBA practices in the past, the level of concern for fans and the team should be high after this most recent leak.
While the Georgia native has indeed taken to Twitter to share two characters less than the minimum possible on ongoing rumors regarding a potential trade with the Nets, reports are bubbling behind the scenes that Brown is happy with his team and its situation.
His almost certain decision to test the waters in unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2023-24 season simply because his earning potential will be tens of millions of dollars more than if he signs an extension earlier may getting a little nervous, but even in the face of such rumors, Brown has signaled his interests are with Boston — at least for now.
According to Washburn, “Brown is invested in Boston. He loves playing for the Celtics and wants to be part of the team’s bright future.
A similar sentiment was reflected in reporting by Weiss, who said that despite “every hiccup in Brown’s relationship with the fan base, he’s still committed to Boston”, even feeling “perplexed” by the rumors according to which he might not re-sign circulating earlier this offseason. .
“Despite trade talks, Brown wants to be in Boston,” the Athletic analyst suggests.
At present, only the offices of each respective team truly know the extent and seriousness of the talks between the two ball clubs, and as is the case in even serious trade negotiations for such stars, it is more likely than not this particular thread in the KD saga will have no impact on the Celtics roster.
But hopefully the right conversations are happening internally between Brown and the front office given the importance of the Cal-Berkeley product and the future of the Boston franchise.
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