Kevin Durant is a free agent this summer.
The Celtics will have plenty of cap space to sign Durant. Be still my heart.
Durant is in Boston to play the Celtics Wednesday night. At the Thunder’s shoot-around this morning, Durant met with the Boston media and told the assembled press how much he likes the city of Boston.
“I like the city a lot, It’s cold, but they love sports here,” Durant said according to MassLive.com. “It’s a family atmosphere I feel when I walk around the city, so yeah, I like it a lot.”
OK, I know the story. The Celtics have never been able to lure a big name free agent in his prime to play here. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were trades. But something seems different about Durant than with other free agents. After playing one year in Seattle, he has played the past eight seasons in Oklahoma City, not exactly the garden spot of America.
Kevin Durant on Boston: “I like this city a lot.”Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant talked about the Boston Celtics and the city of Boston Wednesday morning at shoot around. Watch the Celtics vs Thunder TONIGHT at 7pm on Comcast SportsNet, CSNNE.com or via the NBC Live Extra App on your mobile device.
Posted by Comcast SportsNet New England on Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Durant will be 28 years-old at the start of next season. He wants to win a championship. So where could he end up? The Lakers will go hard after him. So will the Knicks as well as his hometown Washington Wizards. There has even been speculation that the Golden State Warriors will clear enough cap space to make a run at him. And don’t forget his current team. The Oklahoma City Thunder are still very good and can offer Durant more money than anyone else.
So how do the Celtics match up with these other teams in the Durant Sweepstakes? Let’s face it: If Durant wants to win and win right away, Golden State would be the place to do it. But they would have to gut their roster to clear enough cap space, and the Warriors will always be Steph Curry’s team.
If playing at home is his priority, then Durant will be a Washington Wizard.
The Lakers and the Knicks could welcome him as the conquering hero, with Durant leading their franchises back to greatness.
The Celtics however give Durant the best chance to win and create a legacy more than any other team except Golden State. The Celtics have a great core of young players who play with a sense of joy. Even Durant has noticed.
“I’ve been watching this team a lot,” Durant told reporters. “They’re scrappy. They play hard. They love their coach. They love their system, and especially in this building, they play with a lot of energy.”
Notice how he mentioned their coach? Word has spread throughout the NBA that Brad Stevens is the kind of coach you want to play for. Stevens is a big selling point for the Celtics.
Danny Ainge loves Durant. Back in the 2007 draft when all the talk was about whom to draft — Durant or Greg Oden — I am convinced that if Ainge had the No. 1 pick, he would have taken Durant over Oden. But the ping pong balls did not turn the Celtics way as usual and they ended up with the fifth pick. The Celtics selected Jeff Green, who was eventually traded to Seattle for Ray Allen.
Durant was the second pick in that draft. The third pick was Al Horford, who will also be a free agent this summer. Durant and Horford are close friends. Could Ainge clear enough cap room to sign both players? Doubtful.
But it should be one interesting summer for Celtics fans. And if you are at TD Garden tonight, make sure you give Kevin Durant a standing ovation. Let’s show him some Boston Love.