The Boston Celtics were expected to have a quiet transaction season, but things always get hectic entering NBA trade deadline week. Things already started Monday, when Stephen A. Smith said on ESPN that the Celtics have inquired again about trading for Kevin Durant — which means Jaylen Brown could be in the mix.

Soon thereafter, Brown was added to the injury report as questionable with a non-COVID-19 illness. The timing raised eyebrows, though it seemed unlikely it reflected any sort of trade negotiation taking shape. So, what on earth is going on? The Athletic’s Celtics writers Jared Weiss and Jay King dive into everything as Thursday’s deadline approaches.


Jared Weiss: Not even the best record in the NBA can keep the Celtics from being linked to Durant. It makes sense that Nets GM Sean Marks should be getting calls from all 29 of his counterparts around the league when the Durant smoke started to emanate last week. But the Celtics are one of the few teams who walked away from the Durant talks this summer betting they didn’t need him to be a top-tier team and proved that to be true.

The price Brooklyn was reportedly requesting included Brown, Marcus Smart and draft picks. If that price has come down, does that change Boston’s calculus?

Jay King: Why would it come down, though? Even at age 34, Durant has bounced back from a rough playoff series against the Celtics to average 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting an obscene 55.9 percent from the field. Before suffering a sprained MCL recently, he was a legitimate MVP candidate leading a Nets resurgence. (Not that Kyrie Irving cared.) Though the knee issue is just another problem to add to his long injury history, nothing else about this season suggests the Nets should lower their price. If anything, they should only ask for more if they do look to move Durant. He has dispelled any notion he has experienced slippage.