The end of July and the month of August are supposed to be the only “dead zones” when it comes to NBA news, but Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell are doing their best to make the NBA truly a year-round entertainment product. If you haven't been tuned in during vacation season, I got you covered with the biggest storylines of the past week. For NBA news and fantasy advice, find me on Twitter here!
Boston making a splash for Kevin Durant?
After getting ousted in the NBA Finals by the Warriors, the Celtics are reportedly entering the Durant sweepstakes and may have the pieces to get a deal done. Their package would be centered around Jaylen Brown and could include as many as three unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027 and 2029) according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. They could also offer up to two pick swaps (2024 and 2026).
That may seem like a lot at first glance, but this is a 12-time All-Star and two-time NBA Finals MVP we're talking about. And Boston has Minnesota to thank for increasing the asking price even more after they forked over five first-round picks and half their rotation for Rudy Gobert.
And that's why Brooklyn has apparently asked for Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart, stalling the talks between the two sides in the process. These talks now come down to who has the most leverage, and both teams have a significant amount. Brooklyn has KD under contract for several years and do not have to rush into a deal, but maybe Durant tries to expedite the process by being a training camp holdout.
And on the Boston side of things, who are they bidding against? It's certainly not the Suns with the Deandre Ayton max extension taking them out of the running, and it doesn't sound like any other team is offering an All-Star with an assortment of picks.
All I know is that a core of Durant, Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams, Malcolm Brogdon and Al Horford would be instant title favorites, but pulling off this trade AND finding a way to keep Smart on the roster would be the icing on the cake.
Bam Adebayo could be part of a Durant trade?
While we're on the topic of Durant, let's talk about the biggest threat not named Boston to take Durant off the market. And that's the Miami Heat. Let's not kid ourselves and pretend that a package highlighted by Tyler Herro would even remotely interest Brooklyn, but if they put Bam Adebayo on the table they instantly move to the front of the line. Adebayo is one of the most talented defenders in the NBA, and his versatility on that end allowed the Heat to utilize a switch-heavy defense. Not many players can guard Trae Young AND LeBron, but Bam certainly can.
Heat reporter Ira Winderman said “there has been internal consideration of the team utilizing center Bam Adebayo as a trade component,” but at least one “influential member of the organization has shot down the notion.” I have a hard time believing that Miami would trade Bam for Durant, as he's one of the small handful of players you simply can't justify moving given his career trajectory. And plus, would a partnership of Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler cut it for an NBA title? I have my doubts, and Miami's depth is nowhere close to Boston when you consider that Kyle Lowry turns into present day Raymond Felton when the playoffs start.
Collin Sexton “lowballed” by Cavaliers?
The market has been eerily quiet for Collin Sexton this summer, and now we know why. The No. 8 pick of the 2018 Draft is reportedly seeking a deal in the $80M range, but the Cavaliers are apparently only willing to offer a 3-year deal in the neighborhood of $40M according to Chris Fedor. Sexton could always choose to play on the qualifying offer in order to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, but that's a massive risk for a player coming off an ACL injury with a role that is up in the air due to Darius Garland's emergence as an All-Star.
Unless another team floats an offer sheet his way, something that is not looking very likely, Sexton may have to choose between the “lowball” offer or bet on himself this season. I have close to zero percent interest in him for fantasy basketball purposes regardless of what he decides.
The market for Donovan Mitchell expands
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Wizards, Heat, Raptors, Hornets, Kings, and Hawks have all expressed interest in Donovan Mitchell. The Knicks are still in the mix and are widely considered the favorites, to be clear, and you have to wonder how many of these teams are truly serious here. This could very easily be a leak out of Utah's front office to drive up the asking price, but New York remains in the driver's seat with their stockpile of first round picks combined with Mitchell's willingness to relocate to New York. I fully expect the Jazz to settle on roughly five first rounders and some young talent such as Quentin Grimes and Obi Toppin as they embrace the tank race for Victor Wembanyama.
Hornets eyeing a Kemba Walker reunion
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday that the Charlotte Hornets are eyeing a reunion for arguably the best player in franchise history, Kemba Walker. As a Charlotte resident I can confirm that the city would go nuts if they make this happen and it's a move that would fill seats, but we have to be honest. The Kemba we knew back then is no longer, as his knees have pretty much ruined that first step of his and he's a massive liability on the defensive end. If they do end up bringing him back, I would anticipate a role similar to the one Tony Parker had during his Charlotte tenure. Another option for Charlotte is to bring back Isaiah Thomas who fared well at the end of the season, but neither of these players would move the needle on a team that looks destined to be an 8th seed for the foreseeable future.
Bob Kravitz of The Athletic said that “everybody on the planet” knows that the Pacers want to trade Myles Turner and Buddy Hield, but it doesn't sound like they are close to a deal for either. The Lakers offered Russell Westbrook, a first-rounder in 2027 and two second-rounders for Turner, but Indiana's front office is not going to go for something like that. The market for Turner should be massive, but I think this is a case of most NBA teams waiting to see what happens with Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell. With Turner likely moving at some point, it's all the more reason to take a flier on Isaiah Jackson late in fantasy drafts. The second-year big man has mouth-watering upside, blocking 3.5 shots per 36 as a rookie with 1.7 steals. As for Turner, I would expect early-round appeal almost anywhere he ends up.