Unless you have been living under a rock, or were knee-cripplingly drunk on the fourth of July and still haven't recovered, you have probably heard the news that Kevin Durant has signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The deal is for two years, with an opt-out after this season, which means NBA fans have the awesome opportunity to potentially do this garbage all over again next offseason! Yay! I am just going to quickly hit on the Kevin Durant decision, but I don't want to spend thousands of words to voice my opinion, because, frankly, nobody gives a shit. We came here to talk Celtics.
From purely a basketball perspective, Kevin Durant probably made the right decision. Golden State offers him the opportunity to win now, and potentially build a historic dynasty. Where my problem lies is within the new direction of the NBA. Even ten years ago, it would be absurd to think that a top three player in the NBA would go to the team that kicked them out of the playoffs. Additionally, Golden State is already writing their own legacy. As much as I hate the entire team, Klay Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green came up just short of winning back-to-back championships and set the regular season record for wins. Now, Kevin Durant is going to join them just because he wants a ring? Who is he, Ray Allen? That is so soft.
And I am not just saying this as a bitter Celtics fans. I never thought that Boston had a legitimate shot at getting Durant, but was pleasantly surprised by how much interest KD had in The Green. In my opinion, the right move was returning to OKC for one final try, as Russell Westbrook is a free agent after next season, as well, and will most likely be heading to LA.
Unless Kevin Durant misses out on the Finals yet again and decides to jump ship (again) to Cleveland, I believe he is going to stick it out for the long haul in Oakland. After wooing Durant with Tom Brady, among others, the Celtics finished in the top three in the Kevin Durant Sweepstakes. While there are no moral victories in Boston, I have to admit that it feels nice to be considered by an all-world NBA superstar for once, and I think it has put the rest of the NBA (and their superstars) on notice.
But what are the Celtics going to do now? After all, Al Horford alone will not be enough to win a NBA Championship.
Fortunately, the Celtics have a plethora of options available at their disposal. First and foremost, the Celtics still have the assets that could land them a potential star. Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, and Russell Westbrook are all reportedly available for the right price. The Celtics have swung and miss on at least two of the aforementioned names, but, would Sacramento, Chicago or Oklahoma City move these stars just to make a move and start the rebuild, now that they clearly cannot get a better offer?
The second, less sexy, option is to play this year with the team as it is currently constituted and prepare for the draft next offseason. By all accounts, next year's draft has the potential to be special, with four or five franchise prospects. If Jaylen Brown can develop his shot, he has the potential to be better than Jimmy Butler, and Danny Ainge could look like a mastermind. Additionally, the Celtics will again have cap space and the ability to sign a max player (Gordon Hayward, perhaps?) that fits their system. If the Celtics can continue to develop, and win upwards of 50 games, they have another legitimate shot at landing a NBA superstar.
Buckle up, Celtics Nation!