For those who don't know, Oklahoma City star forward Kevin Durant is going to be perusing new cities to play basketball in when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Rumors have flown around about whether he will stay in Oklahoma City, jump to the Golden State Warriors, head back home and play for the Washington Wizards, or maybe go anywhere else. With the salary cap spiking this summer, nearly every team will be able to afford to add a max guy, but Chris Forsberg tells you why Boston is the best choice for the Durant sweepstakes come July.
In an ESPN article, Forsberg laid out everything that makes the Celtics one of the most appealing situations for Durant to consider. This includes a few main points starting with the coach:
Playing for one of the best young coaches in the league: Stevens, who will joust with Gregg Popovich and Terry Stotts for coach of the year next month, has cemented himself as one of the brightest minds in the game. He has maximized the talent of players like Jordan Crawford and Turner, and Celtics fans get weak in the knees thinking about what he could do with an elite talent like Durant.
Here in Boston, we have come to love Brad Stevens and his whiteboard on the sideline. He's done a phenomenal job with what would probably be considered a slightly above-average lineup. Add in Durant, and you've got at least a spot in the conversation of contending teams.
Argument two for Forsberg is the history of Boston's storied basketball franchise. 17 banners, a passionate fan-base, and a title-hungry town. Durant, who is in Boston today for the matchup between the Thunder and Celtics, was asked how he feels about the city. Via Jay King of Masslive:
"I like the city a lot," Durant said after a shootaround at the TD Garden. "It's cold but they love sports here. It's a family atmosphere I feel when I walk around the city. So yeah, I like it a lot."
To me, that's a bit of a reason to freak out. Boston has a reputation of struggling to attract free agents against teams like Miami or Los Angeles, and the cold has a lot to do with that. However, once players get here, they tend to fall in love with the city and the atmosphere surrounding Celtics basketball. Can liking Boston help push him towards the C's this summer? Absolutely.
In terms of the actual team, currently there is a space for a superstar to fill. There's not a lot of egos on this current Celtics roster, and with the youth that the Celtics have cultivated they could learn from a veteran like Durant. Terry Rozier has been showing off his athleticism as of late, Jordan Mickey will eventually find his place on the roster, and a shooter like RJ Hunter could thrive with Durant as a mentor. And then, the front office can fill in the holes around him.
Forsberg argues that the ownership group has never been afraid to pay in order to contend. There is no doubt that if Durant is drawn to Boston, the Celtics would be paying the luxury tax. It wouldn't be cheap to acquire Durant and the possible pieces needed to contend for the foreseeable future. But the current front office would be committed to making that work long term. Here at CelticsLife we took a look at the numbers when rumors flew a few weeks ago of signing both Durant and Al Horford.
So during the game tonight, take one second while Durant is showcasing his talents to imagine him playing for the home team, because it's certainly a possibility come July.
Topher Lane is on Twitter, @Topher_L. Photo credit: Sue Ogrocki. Topher Lane 3/16/2016 04:15:00 PM Tweet Edit