The Boston Celtics are one of the six teams to land a meeting with coveted unrestricted free agent Kevin Durant, but is that a big deal?
Boston is going to pitch their history of being champions, the future, and the intelligence of Brad Stevens as a coach, but is that enough? Of course not.
Boston practically has not shot of landing Kevin Durant this offseason. Sorry Celtics fans, but there is some good news. Landing a meeting with Durant shows that he thinks Boston has a bright future, but they are just not there yet.
The Celtics have a plethora of assets, a great coach, and some above-average role players like Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley. The problem is that the Celtics do not have enough to win a championship, even with the signing of Durant. Isaiah Thomas is an All-Star and a very good point guard, but the team needs more than Thomas and Durant to be contenders.
Boston would only have a shot at signing Durant if they could prove to him that they can go out and sign a second tier star free agent (Al Horford) or trade for a star player (Jimmy Butler or Kevin Love).
The Celtics have not proven that they can do that and most of their assets have not proven anything yet either. The most valuable trade piece the Celtics have is their 2017 first round pick from the Brooklyn Nets (the 2017 NBA Draft is loaded) and Jae Crowder.
Boston should do everything they can to hold on to Crowder because he has become a leader for the Celtics and a pretty good two-way player, but that 2017 pick should be up for grabs.
General manager Danny Ainge has been more than patient and he has been aggressive, but it has not paid off. Boston has overachieved the past two seasons and coach Stevens is a big reason why, but it is time to start making some actual moves so they can land big-time free agents.
Getting a meeting with Durant is huge for Boston’s confidence and other free agents and players around the league will now see Boston as a place that Durant took a meeting with. Last year, the Celtics could not even get a meeting with Greg Monroe; this year they are getting a meeting with one of the best players in the NBA.
A meeting with Durant gives the city of Boston hope that they can land a big-time player one day because it has been a while since a superstar in his prime has chosen Boston. Durant could be the trailblazing free agent that makes others realize that Boston could be a good spot to play.
Now that Durant has chosen the Celtics as one of the teams he would meet with, they need to prove to other free agents that they can go out and sign or trade for players to make the team better.
Boston’s roster and assets are not going to sell players like Durant right now, which is why they need to try to sign lower-tier free agents (guys like Chandler Parsons, Hassan Whiteside or Al Horford) before they start thinking they can seriously sign top tier free agents.
A meeting with Durant is great for the Celtics from a marketing perspective, but by next offseason, the Celtics need to put themselves in a position where they have a chance to convince any free agent to sign in Boston.