The Boston Celtics are one of six teams who will have the opportunity to meet with Kevin Durant when NBA free agency begins on July 1st. What will their pitch to Durant be? The odds are certainly against the Celtics luring in Durant considering that their competition is much closer to an NBA championship than they are. In particular, the Thunder, Warriors, and Spurs are all elite teams who were all title contenders last year. The Thunder were a game away the NBA Finals. We all know how good the Warriors are. Imagine if they add Durant? Good luck to the rest of the NBA the next few years if that happens. The Clippers, Heat, and Celtics all appear to be on the outside looking in. Having said all of that, the Celtics do get to sit down with Durant and make their pitch which is really all they can ask for. So, how do they convince Durant to come to Boston? That’s the subject of today’s post.
The Celtics need to make a splash. Their presentation to Durant needs to be dramatically better than the other five teams. This is one area where they may have somewhat of an advantage. They have more tradition and winning history than any team in the NBA and there’s no better sports city than Boston. The discussion on how they get back to their winning ways is one thing. However, it all starts with who joins this meeting.
These are the people the Celtics should have in attendance for the meeting with Kevin Durant.
- Danny Ainge
- Brad Stevens
- Wyc Grousbeck
- Isaiah Thomas
- Avery Bradley
- Bill Russell
- John Havlicek
- Kevin McHale
- Tom Brady
- David Ortiz
The first three are obvious. Ainge, Stevens, and Grousbeck need to make their pitch when it comes to the contract and discuss why Durant signing with the Celtics makes them a championship team right away. Durant doesn’t want to hear about being a contender three of four years from now. He wants to win now and the Celtics need to prove to him that they can win right away. Bringing Thomas and Bradley to talk about the team and represent what it’s like to play under Stevens will also be a big key.
Russell, Havlicek, and McHale are the guys who can talk about the Celtics tradition and what it’s like to be a Boston Celtic. Russell carries the most weight here. He’s well respected by today’s NBA players and is an ambassador for the game. Are there other guys who would be better options that Havlicek and McHale? Yes. However, Larry Bird, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett are all employed by other NBA organizations. They’re not going to sit in a room and try to convince Kevin Durant to sign with the Celtics.
The C’s need to go the extra mile here. Putting Tom Brady and David Ortiz in front of Durant will make it clear to him what playing in Boston is like. They’ll talk about the community, the fan base, and how all of the teams are connected. Durant doesn’t appear to be a guy who’s all about the glitz and fame. He wants to win. Putting two Boston icons in the room who have led their respective teams to seven championships in the past 15 years will get that point across. It will also show him how serious the Celtics are about bringing him to Boston. The pitch can be that Durant can be the next great Boston champion like Brady and Ortiz.
So, now to how the Celtics present their championship pitch. It starts with the fact that the Celtics won 48 games last year and they’re bringing back their core with Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, and Marcus Smart. Well, at least for right now. They then discuss how they have the ability to sign two max contracts. So, basically, tell us what other player you want to play with and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen. It doesn’t need to be through free agency because the Celtics have assets that are tradable including the Brooklyn Nets first round pick for the next two years. The Celtics have more assets to offer from a trade standpoint than any NBA team.
The Celtics were nine games worse than the NBA Champions, Cleveland Cavaliers, last year. Nine games. Adding Kevin Durant, along with another max contract, puts them right there with the Cavs if not ahead of them. If Durant stays with OKC, he’s still behind the Warriors and Spurs. If he signs with the Warriors, then he’ll get the championship he covets, but it will be viewed as if he just joined the bandwagon to win a title. If he comes to Boston, he has the opportunity to restore the winning tradition that won 16 championships in a 30 years span and since has won just one title in the last 30 years. He can be the leader of the team and have a legitimate shot at an NBA championship next year and even more so in the years after that as their young nucleus continues to improve.
This is a long shot, but it actually does make some sense for Durant to join this team. It’s an easier path to the Finals. Lebron James is getting older and the East is there for the taking. The Celtics need to WOW him to bring him to Boston. The five other cities simply don’t have a presence like Ortiz and Brady to bring along. Will it matter? Maybe not, but the Celtics need to go all in.