Should Celtics move Robert Williams in Kevin Durant trade?

The Boston Celtics are one of the top suitors to acquire Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets.

Durant recently reaffirmed his trade request in a meeting with Nets owner Joe Tsai, with reports indicating that the star forward is open to playing for the rival Celtics.

Boston reportedly offered Jaylen Brown, Derrick White and a first-round draft pick to Brooklyn for Durant, with the Nets seeking a larger return. One player the Celtics have been hesitant to move is big man Robert Williams III, NBC Sports reports.

Nick Wright, co-host of “First Things First,” argues that leaks of Boston’s willingness and unwillingness to move certain players could have an impact on morale.

“What you can’t do is continuing ciphering your team amongst untouchables and touchables because now Jayson Tatum is like ‘hey, Robert Williams, you’re the other guy on the team they really like,” Wright said. “And Marcus Smart’s like ‘oh, hi, Jaylen, you and me over here in the ’touchable category.’ What are you doing?

“If you’re telling the world you won’t include Robert Williams, you know what you’re also telling the world? Marcus Smart can be had, though. I’m sure this makes Robert Williams feel great. Probably makes Marcus Smart not feel so great. I don’t know why they keep stepping on the same rake. They’ve got to tighten up the leak shop.”

Robert Williams off limits in Kevin Durant trade talks

Robert Williams off limits in Kevin Durant trade talks

Nick Wright and Kevin Wildes react to reports that the Boston Celtics have made Robert Williams III unavailable in potential trade packages for Kevin Durant.

Williams, 24, is entering the first season of a four-year, $54 million contract. He averaged 10.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game while shooting 73.6% from the field in the 2021-22 regular season.

Co-host Kevin Wildes argues that while Williams is an effective player, the big man can’t be the reason Boston misses out on Durant. 

“I get it: Robert Williams, 10-10 guy, high PER,” Wildes said. “I pulled up all the PERs, so let’s see, according to this, and PER fluctuates on what you’re qualified for, but right here PER of 22: he’s ninth. Here’s who’s ahead of him: Giannis, Embiid, Durant, Trae Young, Jimmy Butler, Montrezl, DeMar DeRozan, Jarrett Allen and then Robert Williams. One of those names is Kevin Durant, though.

“So, I know it’s super high PER, but Kevin Durant is No. 3, Robert Williams is No. 9. So, guys, if you want Durant you’re going to have to give Brooklyn some quality players. Durant’s not just going to wander over.”

The Celtics won the Eastern Conference last season, though, they later fell to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. En route to winning the East, the Celtics swept the Nets in round one.

Durant, 33, is entering the first season of a four-year, $194 million contract. He averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists while shooting 51.8/38.3/91.0 last season.

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