ESPN’s Chris Forsbergwrote a fascinating piece at ESPN.com this week, outlining exactly how the Celtics could land Thunder superstar Kevin Durant in free agency this summer.
The piece was predictably met with a fine mix ofskepticism and excitement, from Celtics fans, on Twitter. Given that there is really no precedent for a transaction this big in the history of Boston basketball, you can understand the reaction.
At the risk of playing the Debbie Downer role, though, here are three reasons why Durant won’t be coming to the Celtics this summer:
1. The salary cap
No, this isn’t because the Celtics won’t have the money this summer. They will. It’s just that if Durant wants to make the most money possible in these next two years of his prime, his best option is to sign a one-year deal with the Thunder this summer. The NBA salary cap is going to increase yet again during the summer of 2017 – where it should be the peak that it reaches for at least a few years after that. Durant would secure unheard of amounts of cash if he plays this thing patiently. He could make 35 percent of a $108 million cap in 2017 as opposed to 30 percent of a lower cap figure in 2016.
2. The Celtics’ competition
When Xavier McDaniel is arguably the greatest free agent “get” in franchise history, you’re not exactly regarded as an “NBA destination.”
The usual big-market suspects (Lakers andKnicks) and the reigning NBA championsare all likely going to make pushes for Durant. There are rumors that the Lakershave a plan to eventually bringRussell Westbrook to LA to appease Durant. There were those scary Wojnarowski-based Warriors rumors in February.And former Thunder coach Scott Brooks has been mentioned as possible bait to get Durant to Manhattan.
Oh, and then there’s Durant’s hometown of Washington, D.C..
On destination alone, Boston is probably the fifth or sixth (at best) most intriguing place for Durant.
3. Too many moving parts
It seems theonly way Durant would come to the Celtics is if the Celtics landed Al Horfordin free agency as well.
Isaiah Thomas only has so much clout here, and – really – what is the precedent for two superstar playersdeciding in free agency to go to a cold-weather city together?
This isn’t aLeBron, Bosh and Wade situation. Wade was already in sunny Miami and was considered an NBADon back in 2010. He was already established as a player you could win a championship with because he had already had won a championship.
All due respect – Isaiah Thomas’ best accomplishment to date is making one Eastern Conference All-Star team. He’s a great teammate by all accounts, but there are many great teammates around the league. Thomas just doesn’t have that kind of cache.
Danny Aingeis regarded as a master negotiator (so says Rockets GM Daryl Morey), but getting two superstar players from two different cities to come to a cold weather city with no superstar player in place would be the greatest accomplishment by any executive in the history of pro sport.