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Moving on from the summer of Durant

So long and thanks for the content.

Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets - Game Four Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Well, that was something. The Kevin Durant trade demand sure gave us a lot of news cycles, content, and occasional angst, but I’m very relieved for it to be over, least for now. Below are some scattered thoughts on what happens next.

  • For starters, the rest of the league can get on with whatever backup plans and formerly on-hold transactions they had planned. It is understandable that many teams were taking a wait-and-see approach to the KD drama. The Lakers, for example, have made no secret that Kyrie Irving was their number one goal with Westbrook’s expiring contract and two picks offer. Now they can move on to other potential deals (with the Pacers or Jazz?). The much rumored Donovan Mitchell to the Knicks discussions didn’t have to wait for Durant, but there may have been moving pieces potentially involved that won’t be there now.
  • I wouldn’t count on any deals magically materializing for the Celtics, but you never know. Chances are, they are happy with the roster that they have and will see how things play out in training camp and into the first few months of the season. I still have my eyes on the backup big role, but I’m also hopeful that Luke Kornet can at least fill in as a stop gap.
  • As much as we’d all love to fully move on from all of this, keep January 15 circled in the back of your mind. That’s when Deandre Ayton can be traded after signing his contract this summer. In the weeks leading up to that date, I’d expect some chatter to re-emerge on a potential Durant deal and that means the Celtics will be looped into the rumors again, whether they like it or not. Even if the Celtics don’t answer another phone call, the Nets will still leak out Jaylen Brown as a starting point level offer.
  • Then again, maybe the Brooklyn Nets will actually be good and everything will be forgiven. They have the roster that could win a lot of games and wash away any lingering animosity between everyone involved. Of course that depends on (deep breath) Ben Simmons being healthy and playing and not afraid to shoot layups while Kyrie Irving is playing and not injured and not being an off court distraction and Kevin Durant playing at the level he’s capable of without slowing down and the rest of the roster fitting around that trio in an effective way despite being in a competitive Eastern Conference (gasps for air).
2022 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
  • So, the elephant in the room is Jaylen Brown. Nobody really knows exactly how he’s feeling about seeing his name cycled through trade rumors once again (and so soon after a Finals appearance no less). Maybe he’s totally fine with it and understands it is a business and these things happen. Maybe he’s flattered to be considered the best piece offered for a sure Hall of Famer. Or maybe he’s hurt and will use this as fuel for his competitive fire. Or maybe he’s just hurt and this will damage his relationship with the Celtics in some way over the long term. Or perhaps there’s some mix of all of the above and dozens more thoughts and feelings mixed in as well. Nobody knows and even when he answers the inevitable questions he’ll get in training camp, we may never know. And that’s his business.
  • All we can do is collectively move on and chalk it up to summer rumors filling a void of news cycles. We’ll probably never know just how close Durant came to becoming a Celtic and that’s fine with me. I love the roster that we have and I want to see what this team looks like heading into a new season as one of the top contenders for the title. I want to see what Jaylen Brown looks like coming back from a summer of working on his game (yes, including his ball handling in traffic). I want to see Jayson Tatum start off strong and get into the MVP conversation. I want to see how Ime Udoka weaves together rotations involving newcomer Malcolm Brogdon, relative newcomer Derrick White, and longtime soul of the team Marcus Smart.
  • Most of all I just want to see the Celtics playing again. I’m happy that they have some more time to rest and train, but as a fan, the season can’t start soon enough. Go Celtics!

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