Right on cue. The Boston Celtics have found their name being dragged back into the NBA rumor mill with just 3 days to go until the February 9 trade deadline, and in what feels like a repeat of the off-season, it’s Jaylen Brown being floated as a potential makeweight for Kevin Durant.
We knew these rumors were a possibility from the moment Kyrie Irving handed in a trade request, and once the Dallas Mavericks swooped in to take the star guard off the Brooklyn Nets' hands, that pesky rumor mill began to spin again.
During a February 6 episode of ESPN’S First Take, Stephen A. Smith threw some gas onto the fire, and now, Durant’s name is no longer being discussed with hushed voices in some dark corners of Celtics fandom — it’s front and center.
“I’m hearing that he’s on the verge of potentially being moved. Obviously, we’ve all been speculating about that, that he may be moved. They’re on the phone, I’m hearing Boston is making some calls. Keep your eye on that. Jaylen Brown. Keep your eye on that,” Smith said.
Smith’s comments weren’t the first to link Durant to Boston in the last 24 hours, with HoopsHype’s Yossi Gozlan also mentioning the potential for a conference-altering deal.
“Boston was the big surprise team to be seriously interested in Durant given they just went to the NBA Finals...Their willingness to trade Jaylen Brown made them the leaders in the Durant sweepstakes since he was by far the best player known to be on the table. It’s unclear if the Celtics are still interested in pursuing Durant now that they have the best record in the league and great chemistry,” Gozlan wrote.
Call it fake news. Classify it as front office posturing to try and drive more teams to the negotiating table. Or simply brush it off as another rumor that will amount to nothing more than a discourse on social media. However you choose to process these rumors, it’s worth remembering that when there’s this much smoke, there’s usually some form of fire, be it an ember or a raging inferno.
We’re still in the early days of this fresh round of trade rumors, but it would be wise to remember that during the summer, there was a significant amount of concern regarding how Brown was dealing with seeing his name floated in trade discussions yet again. As such, that concern would be valid once again, both in terms of Brown’s overall happiness with the franchise and how it could affect a close-knit locker room in the coming days and weeks, should a trade for Durant fail to materialize for the second time.
Alas, this is all part and parcel of the trade deadline, and for most of us, the excitement is what makes this part of the NBA’s schedule so interesting. With three days left until the deadline passes, there is always the possibility of a trade being made. Whether or not it will be a trade fan agree with...well, that’s a totally different story.