One of just five teams formally invited to the Hamptons to make their pitch to free agent Kevin Durant in 2016, the Celtics (a year away from adding Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to the mix) reached outside their organization for an added gun.
Adding Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to their crew — which featured president Danny Ainge, head coach Brad Stevens, and a group of players now playing elsewhere thanks to the Celtics’ massive roster shake-up since then — the Celtics were hoping the pitch from ‘The G.O.A.T’ would help convince Durant that Boston was the place to truly cement his NBA legacy.
It was an odd move, but it was the C’s working with what they had within the city at that point, as Al Horford was still a few days away from signing. (Keep in mind that their player-led group in the Hamptons included Kelly Olynyk, so I mean…)
The 29-year-old Durant was admittedly starstruck by Brady, a player that’s mastered his craft for close to two decades, but in a feature story penned by The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami, Durant was honest about the fact that Brady wasn’t a Celtic.
“That stuff was cool, don’t get me wrong,” Durant said. “But I was just all about the basketball.
“I mean, I love Tom Brady, but I don’t know if he can help me if he was on the court with me right now. I love that people wanted me on their team, but at the same time I just wanted to hear from the coaches and the players about what they needed or why they wanted me on their team and what I needed to do as a player.”
Signing a two-year deal (a contract he’s since opted out of and restructured, and with more restructuring on deck this summer), there’s no doubt that this move has worked out just as Durant and the Warriors, with a 16-1 postseason record en route to a title in 2017, and with the Warriors now sitting just two wins away from their second straight title.
“My whole concern was just wanting to play ball the right way, play with some good dudes and build a bond that will last forever,” Durant said. “I feel like [Golden State] is the perfect place for it.”