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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Justin Quinn

Boston Celtics trade rumble heat check: Renewed interest in Kevin Durant? Grant Williams inquiries?

With the 2023 NBA trade deadline just days away from arriving, the Boston Celtics are finding themselves entangled in a number of trade rumors as they so often seem to be.

Some of them make all the sense in the world, some could if you squint very hard, and others simply make no sense whatsoever. So we decided to dive into the most current trade rumbles we have heard with ties to the Celtics ahead of the 3 pm ET moratorium on making deals in the 2022-23 NBA season on this coming Thu., Feb. 9, and grade them based on how likely we think there is to be some fire behind each instance of trade smoke.

So with all that said, let’s get started.

Renewed interest in Kevin Durant

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This one comes from a certain Bristol, Connecticut-based broadcaster known more for his bombast than trade intel. We’re talking about ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who recently connected Boston and Kevin Durant in the wake of the Kyrie Irving trade to the Dallas Mavericks.

Reporting on “First Take” that he is hearing KD is “on the verge of potentially being moved” (via Christopher Lavinio) and the Cs are “making some calls” while asking us to keep our eyes on Jaylen Brown.

Given Boston has — more than once — been tied to Durant with the team denying interest, we don’t think there’s anything worth spilling more ink over.

Assessment: Very unlikely

Teams are inquiring about Grant Williams' availability

With the likes of’s Chris Fedor and The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reporting that teams around the NBA have been asking after the availability of Grant Williams ahead of the trade deadline, one may wonder whether the Celtics have let it slip they might like to move the Charlotte native.

As a restricted free agent who did not get an extension done this past offseason, it also might be that said teams are simply testing the waters on a valuable player who may have maneuvered himself into a lesser deal than he might have secured had he gotten a deal done this summer.

Given we have seen no signs from the team that they want to move on from Williams, we’re assuming Boston is fielding calls about all of their players as is the norm at this time. That doesn’t mean they would turn down a potential upgrade if the move makes sense, but we don’t think the Celtics are actively shopping the Tennessee alum, either.

Assessment: Very likely (but unlikely to end in a trade)

Celtics have interest in Nerlens Noel

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics are by all accounts looking to add to their big man and wing depth, and Noel fits the bill of a big who can play an adaptive role as he would be needed to with Boston.

Tied to the Celtics (among several teams) by Detroit Pistons beat reporter for the Athletic’s James L. Edwards III, the Malden, MA native is earning close to the upper limit of what the Celtics could trade for without including a core part of their rotation.

But there is a decent chance that Noel will be bought out by his current team, meaning the Celtics might be asking after him to gauge whether or not there will be a chance of his being an option to add without trading anything at all.

Assessment: Very likely (but unlikely to end in a trade)

Celtics have interest in Kelly Olynyk

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Old friend Kelly Olynyk is reunited with the team president who drafted him on the Utah Jazz in one Daniel Ainge, but could there be a desire to pry him loose from that familiar haunt to send him back to another?

With the Celtics reportedly asking after the Klynyk according to Heavy’s Steve Bulpett, it could certainly be in the cards if accurate, but they’d have to outbid the Miami Heat according to the veteran beat reporter.

Bulpett is not known for exaggeration, so there seems to be genuine interest here, but with the Kamloops native earning close to the maximum Boston could trade for without creating new problems at $12.8 million.

Assessment: Possible, but unlikely

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