NBA: Celtics join race for Durant, with Suns, Heat and Raptors also keen

Kevin Durant is beginning a four-year, US$194 million deal with the Nets. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Add the Boston Celtics to the list of suitors for Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kevin Durant.

ESPN reported Monday (July 25) the Durant Sweepstakes are still in the browsing stages with no deal imminent, but the Eastern Conference champion Celtics are in the picture along with widely reported teams with interest such as the Phoenix Suns, Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors.

Just before the open of NBA free agency, Durant formally requested a trade from the Nets. The 12-time All-Star reportedly has interest in a reunion with the Golden State Warriors, but it's unclear whether the NBA champions are in favour of bringing him back.

The Celtics could present a package that includes All-Star Jaylen Brown. Brown is 25 and has two years remaining on his current four-year, US$106.3 million contract.

ESPN reported Boston also could bundle unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027 and 2029) and consider first-round pick swaps with the Nets in 2024 and 2026.

All-Star Jayson Tatum, per the report, is considered off-limits in trade discussions.

Durant is beginning a four-year, US$194 million deal with the Nets. He is slated to make US$42.97 million for the 2022-23 season.

A two-time NBA Finals MVP and a four-time scoring champion, Durant joined Brooklyn as a free agent in 2019 alongside Kyrie Irving. Durant averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists in 55 games this past season with the Nets, who traded fellow All-Star James Harden to the Philadelphia 76ers in a blockbuster deal involving Ben Simmons.

Irving, a seven-time All-Star, picked up his US$36.5 million option, though the Nets are said to be willing to listen to trade offers.

Durant, the 2013-14 league Most Valuable Player, has career averages of 27.2 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 939 games with the Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder (2007-16), Warriors (2016-19) and Nets.

The Nets were swept by the Celtics in the first round of the 2022 playoffs.

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