These Brad Stevens comments are worth revisiting amid KD reports originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The latest indications point to "yes:" ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Celtics have been in "regular contact" with the Nets about a Durant trade, while The Athletic's Shams Charania reports that Boston actually offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a draft pick to Brooklyn, which countered by asking for Brown, Marcus Smart, draft picks and potentially one more player.
Those reports suggest the Celtics have real interest in trading for Durant, a 12-time All-Star who would make the C's title favorites if paired with Jayson Tatum. But are Brad Stevens and Co. trying to add Durant at all costs, or simply exploring their options with one of the greatest players of his generation?
Stevens' recent comments to our Chris Forsberg may offer a clue. Speaking after the Celtics' introductory press conference for Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari earlier this month, the Celtics president of basketball operations said he'd be content if Boston opened the season with its current roster and potentially one or two end-of-the-bench additions.
"I think there may be a positional need or two that we have to add, and we've got several people we're looking at to do that. We have to add without taking away," Stevens told Forsberg, as seen in the video above.
"We've talked about the depth already and the fact that people have to give. And I think that we are in a good place depth-wise if we head into the season with this group plus an add or two that helps us navigate with a full roster all of the ups and downs, from an injury standpoint, of the season. I feel really good about what this group can accomplish."
Players of Durant's caliber hardly ever become available on the trade market, and Stevens wouldn't be doing his job if he didn't at least explore a Durant trade. The Celtics also can offer arguably the NBA's strongest trade package to Brooklyn if they're willing to include Brown, so if the Nets are hell-bent on trading Durant before training camp, then the C's are operating from a position of strength.
Boston's position would be even stronger if Stevens believes his current roster can compete for a title. After adding Brogdon and Gallinari to a talented young core that came two wins away from a championship last season, the Celtics again should be considered legitimate contenders.
You could argue that Durant (even as he turns 34 in September) would put them over the top, and if the C's have serious concerns about Brown leaving in 2024 free agency, then a Durant trade is worth legitimate consideration.
Based on Stevens' comments to Forsberg, however, the Celtics may not be heartbroken if a deal doesn't get done.