The Boston Celtics are rumored to be considering a series of huge offseason moves, with reports that both Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard could be targets for the team looking to jump to the top of the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics just saw their season end to the tune of a 4-2 series loss to the Atlanta Hawks, but the future's looking bright in Boston with a strong core and a bevy of assets that could either add talent or serve as trade bait. The results were seen this season, when the Celtics had a 23-win improvement over 2014, winning 48 games.Chris Mannix of the Vertical wrote that the team's reinvention has been "masterful," but there is still more work to do for them to become a true playoff contender. With as much as $33 million in cap space available and three first-round draft picks coming up --- including a potential top three pick --- the team is poised to make some huge moves. Mannix reported that the Celtics and president Danny Ainge are looking to turn those assets into one of the biggest offseason prizes --- Kevin Durant. But he noted that the Boston Celtics will have to make some immediate upgrades to appeal to Durant, who is looking for a title-ready contender.
"Ainge will be aggressive in free agency, team sources told The Vertical, and yes, that means a run at Kevin Durant. The Celtics believe Durant will meet with them this summer, but they know that meeting won't accomplish much unless there are significant moves leading into it. Durant will be 28 in September, and the former MVP isn't interested in hearing what a team could someday become. He wants to win now, which is why Golden State and San Antonio expect to be appealing, why Oklahoma City is still very much in play. Boston needs a deal for Jimmy Butler, a commitment from Al Horford, a carrot to dangle in front of Durant to persuade him that relocating east is the smart play."Kevin Durant may not be the only offseason target. There are other rumors that the Boston Celtics could take a run at Houston Rockets big man Dwight Howard, who is expected to opt out to become a free agent this offseason.
The trouble could come in Howard's salary considerations. He is reportedly seeking a max contract, but injuries have taken a toll and Howard has failed to develop his offensive skill set despite having two of the top low-post development coaches in Houston in Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin McHale. Howard still has no mid-range jumper and his free throw shooting was below 50 percent last season.
Boston Globe writer Gary Washburn noted that the Celtics could be an attractive option for Dwight Howard, but only at the right price.
"The Celtics could promise him more offensive touches and a much better atmosphere. But what Howard would they get for their $30 million? That's the tricky part. It would have to be a short-term deal with hopes that Howard revives himself after a couple of poor years."If the Boston Celtics rumors are true, they would have quite a bit of competition for either Kevin Durant or Dwight Howard. There are close to a dozen teams connected to the pair, and the Oklahoma City Thunder still have the inside track to keep Durant. The team can offer him the biggest contract, and if they can overcome a 1-0 deficit and a blowout Game 1 loss to the San Antonio Spurs to make a deeper run into the playoffs, his best chance for a title could come by staying home.
[Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]