In a question that would make Red Auerbach scream up blood at you in pure confusion, have the Celtics make it known that they’ve taken themselves out of the Kevin Durant sweepstakes via… Twitter?
With the 82-game slate dropped last week, a Friday tweet from the official account of the Celtics told fans to secure their seats for the 2022-23, and did so with a graphic featuring Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Hmmmm. *Eyeball emoji after eyeball emoji*.
Now, the obvious point to be made in shutting this theory down is that they have to include Brown in their promotional material right now because if they didn’t, it would only add fuel to the fire of the Durant rumors. Imagine not putting your second-best player in any sort of marketing for the 2022-23 season, especially on the heels of an NBA Finals run? It’s not like the Celtics are a one-man team and can and should only feature Tatum in their marketing. There’s also the fact that Brown is still under contract with the Celtics and that’s he’s, well, a very good basketball player for the Celtics. Leaving him out of any promo material is basically saying, “Yeaaaah, we’re not really sure what the plan is, so enjoy this team-sponsored confusion.”
Under normal circumstances and as healthy humans, I’d say that this is all noise and thus easily ignored. But this is the NBA, where literally everything is dissected to the core and none of us are healthy.
And the Celtics made it almost impossible to ignore this stuff when they essentially doubled down on the Jaylen love Sunday afternoon with a thread of Jaylen Brown pictures.
August 21, by the way, is not Jaylen Brown’s birthday. That’s two months and change away. It’s not the anniversary of the Celtics drafting him back in 2016. It’s not even the anniversary of Brown’s big-money extension. This was an out-of-left-field appreciation post for the Celtics’ best player in the 2022 NBA Finals.
But this also might just be the Celtics’ best way of shooting down the rumors.
Brad Stevens could come out and outright say, “No, we’re not trading Jaylen Brown for Kevin Durant,” but that opens the door to Stevens having to publicly shoot down every trade rumor that comes out for the rest of his tenure. It also puts him into a box where he can’t go back on that unless he embraces being a big ol’ liar like Henry Rollins circa ’94. That’s not necessarily the long-term business plan of any NBA exec worth a damn.
And the Nets, for what it’s worth, have felt like a team desperately trying to will leverage into existence when it comes to Durant and the overall direction of their team. The repeated mentions of Brown and the Celtics have started to feel more and more like a request (or beg, honestly) than an actual conversation, especially with Durant failing to drum up the interest the Nets probably projected when this trade demand first leaked.
The Celtics and Nets, by the way, will meet for the first time next season Dec. 4 in Brooklyn.
Celtics announce 2022-23 season schedule
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.