In the past months, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are planning to play together on one team after the 2018-19 NBA season. Both superstars have a player option on their current contracts that will enable them to become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2019. As of now, the New York Knicks, who have enough salary cap space to sign two max free agents, emerged as the top landing spot for Irving and Durant.
However, after trading valuable assets to acquire Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavaliers, Celtics President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ainge is expected to do his best to bring the All-Star point guard back in the 2019 NBA free agency. If Irving and Kevin Durant are really interested in teaming up, Ainge could find a way to make it happen in Boston. The Celtics may not have the capability to give Durant a max contract but according to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, they may consider engaging in an “opt-in-and-trade” deal with the Golden State Warriors next summer.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Celtics will be sending Gordon Hayward and a 2019 first-round pick to the Warriors in exchange for Kevin Durant. The deal will not only be beneficial for the Celtics but also for the Warriors.
“That Golden State profiles as a taxpayer even without Durant doesn’t help. Brokering an opt-in-and-trade is cleaner. The Warriors must be cool with blowing past the apron while losing a top-five player, but that’s fine. Gordon Hayward has perked up after a post-All-Star-break slump, and Golden State doesn’t have the spending power to net a better alternative in free agency. His role doesn’t need to change much when transitioning from Boston to Oakland, and the Warriors look like geniuses if he recaptures form amid a less complicated offensive pecking order.”
Kevin Durant ejected in Warriors-Nuggets game https://t.co/I6gNJDuCWZ— Bay Area Sports HQ (@BayAreaSportsHQ) April 3, 2019
Instead of losing Kevin Durant for nothing in the 2019 NBA free agency, the Warriors will be acquiring a player who’s only two years removed from being the main man of a team and a future first-round pick. Gordon Hayward may not be on the level of Durant, but he could still fill the void he will leave in Golden State.
Meanwhile, the tandem of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will undeniably make the Celtics the No. 1 favorite team to fully dominate the Eastern Conference in the 2019-20 NBA season. If their first year together becomes a success, Durant may consider signing a long-term contract with the Celtics in the summer of 2020.