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Much has been made about this coming NBA offseason and no topic has been more talked about than the impending recruitment of Kevin Durant. Teams are lining up to get a meeting with Durant. They’ll try to sell him on the state of their teams or how he’s “the missing piece” to their quests for a championship. The fact of the matter is this, if Kevin Durant is going to seriously entertain the thought of leaving Oklahoma City, (which he should), there is one team and one team only that he should be seriously listening to. No, it’s not the Golden State Warriors, it’s not the Miami Heat, it’s not even the San Antonio Spurs. The one team Durant should be seriously considering is the Boston Celtics.
Boston has been in the midst of a rebuild ever since the departure of Ray Allen in 2012. They then traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn in one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history. Then, they traded the final piece of their championship team when they sent All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo to Dallas in 2014. The Celtics rebuilt very quickly though with some smart draft picks and some even smarter trades. They went through the draft to acquire pieces like Marcus Smart, Jared Sullinger, and Avery Bradley before them. They made some great trades by acquiring Jae Crowder, Tyler Zeller, and All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas. Now, Boston is just one or two pieces away from being a legitimate threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Eastern Conference title. They have a brilliant young head coach in Brad Stevens who gets every ounce of talent out of each and every player. Boston made some noise in the playoffs this past season challenging the Atlanta Hawks in a tough six game series without legitimate superstar on the floor for them. Now, loaded with assets and cap space, the Celtics are poised to make some noise this summer.
The Celtics tried to make some noise on draft night by trying to acquire Jimmy Butler from Chicago but they fell short. It was also reported that they tried to acquire Gordon Hayward from Utah and Jabari Parker from Milwaukee. None of those trades came to fruition and it lead the Celtics to draft Jaylen Brown in somewhat of a surprising move during Thursday night’s draft. The Celtics now have two young athletic players at the small forward position but both Brown and Crowder could be on the move if the right opportunity comes along. Danny Ainge has not been quiet about his search for a superstar player to take this team to the next level. Ainge has had his eye on Durant going all the way back to Durant’s college days at the University of Texas. Back in 2007 during the Big 12 tournament, the Celtics were actually fined for talking too much with members of Durant’s family, more specifically, Durant’s mother. During that time, Ainge had a few conversations with Durant’s mother about his desire to have Durant on the team and use him as a building block for the future. Everyone knows from Durant’s MVP acceptance speech how much he admires his mother. If Danny Ainge was able to earn her trust and win her over, that could have some impact on Durant’s decision this summer. There is no doubt Danny Ainge has his eyes on Durant and if Durant really wants to win, he should be looking right back at Ainge.
The Eastern Conference is without question the easier road to the Finals. If Durant really wants to win, he’s going to have a hard time doing it in the West. The Golden State Warriors aren’t going anywhere. The Spurs are always going to be good as long as Popovich and R.C. Buford are running the show, and there are several younger teams on the rise like the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz. The same can not be said about the Eastern Conference. Other than the Cleveland Cavaliers, there are no legitimate contenders in the East. Miami is getting older and can’t be considered serious contenders with Dwyane Wade’s aging body and Chris Bosh’s questionable health. The Bulls, after trading Derrick Rose, seem to be heading into a rebuild. The Raptors are a nice team but aren’t seen as a serious threat to take the East. That leaves the door wide open for the Boston Celtics. If Kevin Durant joins this already talented and young team, you can bet that other players will be chomping at the bit to join him. Players like Al Horford, whom the Celtics have been interested in for quite a while, would be more inclined to join the C’s if Durant is wearing the white and green. Danny Ainge would probably ramp up his aggression in the trade market too to get a player to go alongside Durant. Durant joining the Celtics would make players like Jae Crowder, Jaylen Brown, and even Avery Bradley more expendable.
Durant has the opportunity to take a storied franchise back to the promise land. With the competition in the East lacking and Boston growing stronger, the window of opportunity is wide open for Durant and the Celtics should he decide to join Isaiah Thomas in the Boston Garden. All reports are still in favor of Durant going back to Oklahoma City on a short term deal, but in my humble opinion, it would be in his best interest to play for the Celtics. He’s a perfect fit for that young team as the go-to veteran superstar. Players elevate their game when they play alongside a guy like Durant and that could spell great things for this extremely young and talented group. Free agency is just a few days away so we’ll see what Durant does. Even as a die hard Knicks fan, I’d love to see Durant in Boston. It would truly be a good thing for the NBA.
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