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PBT’s trade deadline tracker — up to minute news, analysis

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Trade deadline day in the NBA can be ridiculously hard to keep up with as reality and rumor collide. We understand. That’s why we’re here to help. This is our trade deadline day deal tracker — the one place where all the NBA’s trade deadline news and rumors will be. Plus you get our thoughts on everything. This post will be constantly updated throughout the day as the newest information becomes available. Just hit refresh and you will know what we do.

Also, you can track what everyone at PBT, Yahoo Sports and the Comcast Sports Network is saying on twitter by checking out our running NBA twitter feed for the day. That is a great way to stay on top of things.

4:04 pm: We should note that the Utah Jazz chose not to make a move and now have two free agent big men, Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap. They likely are going to lose one of those for nothing now (they probably re-sign the other).

4:00 pm: Golden State did make two small deals at the trade deadline, which is enough to get them under the luxury tax line for this year. They sent Jeremy Tyler to Atlanta and Charles Jenkins to Philadelphia, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. They are getting a second round pick back on both of those. This doesn’t impact the Warriors on the court but it is good for their bottom line (getting under the line helps with the repeater tax in future years).

3:55 pm: Ric Bucher of Comcast Bay Area says it was the Hawks that back out of the Josh Smith trade at the last minute. Bucher put this out on Sulia: “Hawks would’ve received Ekpe Udoh, Luc Mbah-Moute, Beno Udrih and a protected No. 1 pick. Can’t imagine the Bucks are happy having invested so much time in trying to make it happen. Leaves big question now if Hawks can do better this summer.”

3:33 pm: One last trade sneaks in just under the wire at the league office — New York trades Ronnie Brewer to Oklahoma City for a second-round pick, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports.

3:18 pm: Josh Smith is staying in Atlanta. This was always a possibility — Danny Ferry wants cap space and flexibility and if he couldn’t get that with a trade he could just let Smith and his $13 million come off the books at the end of the season. That’s what he’s doing.

3:16 pm: From the earlier Jordan Crawford to the Celtics trade, the Wizards also get Jason Collins from Boston. Note to Wizards fans, if you see a lot of Collins on the court it’s a bad sign.

3:08 pm: Charlotte swapped forwards right at the deadline with the Magic — Hakim Warrick to Orlando,  Josh McRoberts to Charlotte.

3:06 pm: Atlanta traded Anthony Morrow to Dallas for Dahntay Jones, reports ESPN.

3:04 pm: Looks like the Bucks and Magic worked out a straight up deal for J.J. Redick — Redick, Gustavo Ayon, and Ish Smith go to the Bucks and the Magic get  Doron Lamb, Beno Udrih and Tobias Harris.

3:00 pm: DEADLINE. A few things may still trickle in, we’re watching for it, but the paperwork needs to already be at the NBA league office.

2:59 pm: The Hawks have pulled out of the three-way talks with the Bucks and Magic, a deal that at one point may have involved a last, desperate attempt to move Josh Smith. So it comes down to the Bucks trying to get J.J. Redick straight up.

2:53 pm: From Joshua Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: “The Magic are working on a 3-way trade, which would include J.J. Redick. Milwaukee is one of the teams.” That smells of a Josh Smith deal as well, but there are not a lot of details.

2:48 pm: Right up against the deadline, the Thunder are talking about a deal that would send backup point guard Eric Maynor to Portland, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. That makes sense for the Blazers, the question is what goes back to OKC in the deal. There seems to be some weight here as it popped up a number of places. And Stein says this appears to be all but done.

2:40 pm: Report now that the Pacers are out of the J.J. Redick sweepstakes. That means unless somebody swoops in last minute it is down to Philly and Orlando for a possible deal. It feels more and more like Redick could stay the season, but then Orlando gets nothing for him when he leaves as a free agent this summer.

2:30 pm: Just half an hour left until the trade deadline and Josh Smith is still in Atlanta, J.J. Redick is still in Orlando and Metta World Peace is still in his Cookie Monster pajamas.

2:09 pm: The Suns and Raptors have made it official — Hamed Haddadi and a second round pick to  Phoenix, which brings Sebastian Telfair to Toronto as a backup point guard. We’d heard about this one before and Chris Broussard of ESPN says it’s done.

2:02 pm: The trade is Jordan Crawford to the Celtics for the expiring contract of Leandro Barbosa, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Barbosa is out for the season with an ankle injury, this is simply a cash move for Washington. Crawford can provide some perimeter scoring for the Celtics off the bench.

2:00 pm: One hour to the deadline. One hour left.

1:57 pm: Now multiple reports say that while Jordan Crawford looks headed to Boston, it is not Fab Melo going to Washington. Not sure who else is on the end of that bench the Wizards would want.

1:50 pm: The Miami Heat have worked out a deal to send little used big man Dexter Pittman to the Memphis Grizzlies for a 2013 second round pick reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports. Memphis also gets Miami’s second round pick (they swap picks). This creates a roster spot for the Heat to add another body.

1:48 pm: Deal close now for something reported a while ago — Jordan Crawford goes to Boston and Fab Melo comes back to Washington. Marc Spears of Yahoo is the latest but this has been picking up steam.

1:44 pm: Zach Lowe of Grantland makes a good point — we had a couple major deals this year, just they happened earlier than normal. Those are the James Harden and Rudy Gay trades.

1:41 pm: There are multiple reports that the Lakers approached the Cavaliers about Daniel Gibson, problem is what minor role player on the Lakers would you like to take back? Exactly. The Lakers have no assets worth trading.

1:13 pm: The Nuggets don’t like the offers they are getting and will not trade Timofey Mozgov, reports Adrian Wojnarowski. They also are not going to buy him out. He’s just going to have very good seats at the rest of the Nuggets games this season.

1:06 pm: I feel like I am just sitting here humming the Jeopardy theme.

Fact is that the new CBA and luxury tax  have scared teams off and they are not making the big moves this deadline. The owners hoped this would flatten out the talent pool by making teams afraid of spending like the Lakers did this summer anyway. It feels more and more like Josh Smith may get moved and some smaller deals but that’s it. Even Redick may stay in Orlando.

12:59 pm: Josh Smith admitted that it was hard to sleep last night because of all the trade rumors, tweets the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He also said, “No matter what happens Atlanta will still be home. ”

12:50 pm: Portland is still shopping J.J. Hickson around but want a first round pick and are not finding any takers, ESPN Chris Broussard reports. Hickson is a free agent this summer and teams that have interest will just wait until then.

12:48 pm: So far a very slow trade deadline, but with more than two hours left things could start to fly. However, the predictions of a slower than normal trade deadline have a nice lead as we make the turn toward the home stretch.

12:43 pm: Sorry Bulls fans, but your team will not be moving Carlos Boozer at the deadline, for anyone or anything (via ESPN’s Chris Broussard, although it is not a surprise). They also are not going to get J.J. Redick. It looks like you will get the same old Bulls, but with Derrick Rose, the rest of the way.

12:35 pm: More buzz that if the Knicks make any move it will be Ronnie Brewer. Iman Shumpert is not going anywhere. He stays a Knick, to the delight of Knicks fans.

12:30 pm: Teams are dropping out of the J.J. Redick sweepstakes like flies. Detroit is out of the running and the Bucks have pulled back. Ridick likes the idea of the San Antonio Spurs — he lives in Texas in the off-season and the Spurs are really good — but they are out according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. The Magic want a first round pick and the Spurs first round picks stink. Pacers, 76ers still in mix, may be others.

11:58 am: Some buzz out there that the Clippers and Celtics are talking again (about what… Kevin Garnett? Not again). Again, coach Vinny Del Negro and some in the Clippers organization want to go into full on win-now mode and try to swing a deal like that for Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan, but the decision makers are not sold. Chris Paul pushing for it is the one guy who can swing that, but he tried to talk KG into leaving Boston this summer and was told no.

11:43 am: Marc Stein of ESPN says this could happen — Hamed Haddadi and a second round pick to  Phoenix, which brings Sebastian Telfair to Toronto as a backup point. As we’ve said, since the Jose Calderon trade the Raptors need a backup point so there is some logic here. Telfair also is friends with Kyle Lowry and Rudy Gay.

11:40 am: The Boston Celtics are making a trade-deadline run at Tyreke Evans and the Kings are open to the idea, reports Mark Stein of ESPN.

11:34 am: Josh Smith is participating in Hawks practice on Thursday. Take that for what it’s worth. His name still is being passed around in trade talks more than a joint at a Cypress Hill concert.

11:31 am: Multiple reports say the Kings are willing to trade Tyreke Evans in the right deal. Not sure what the right deal would be but that is out there

11:28 am: The Bobcats want to move Gerald Henderson — a solid role-playing guard — but can’t find anyone willing to surrender a first round pick for him, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports. If I were a contending team needing guard help to win now and with a pick in the 20s, I’d offer that. But nothing more. Apparently Charlotte can’t even get that.

11:19 am: While there seems to be some buzz out there, the Nuggets have said they have no intention of buying out Timofey Mozgov’s deal. If you want him, you have to trade for him. Miami wants him but lacks the assets to get it done, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

11:14 am: In case you are watching SportsCenter or some other network talking about it, let me just be clear again — the Lakers ARE NOT TRADING DWIGHT HOWARD UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. So stop talking about it.

11:07 am: There has been some buzz that the Rockets would try to flip Thomas Robinson after getting him in a trade Wednesday. First, they could only flip him if he got to the team and cleared his physical before the deadline, which is unlikely. Plus, they want to keep him in Houston, not trade him, according to Rockets beat reporter for the Chronicle Jonathan Feigen.

10:59 am: What is it with the Bulls owners and their owners hatred of the luxury tax? J.J. Redick would be a great fit for the Bulls on the court, but they are cooling on him because Redick is a free agent next summer and to re-sign him would send the Bulls into the luxury tax, Ken Berger reports at CBS. The Bulls have never paid the tax. Never. And they are trying to move Rip Hamilton now to get below the line this year.

10:51 am: The Bulls would love to move Richard Hamilton to save some money, other teams seem to be asking for a pick to sweeten the deal and the Bulls are saying no, reports Adrian Wojnarowski.

10:45 am: Who is pushing hardest for J.J. Redick? The Bucks, Pacers, Spurs, 76ers according to David Aldridge of TNT and NBA.com. In the Bucks case it might only be if Monta Ellis gets moved (part of the J.R. Smith deal). The Magic will end up taking what they see as the best first rounder of those for him (Sixers?).

10:37 am: Now comes the rumor that the Bucks will not send Monta Ellis to Atlanta as part of a Josh Smith deal. That from Chris Broussard. I would say not to believe much of anything specific coming out of the talks. The talks are certainly serious and going on, but the details will be in constant flux until a deal is reached.

10:34 am: The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards are having a Fab Melo for Jordan Crawford discussion, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. That would give the Celtics some more perimeter shooting.

10:15 am: It looks like the Milwaukee Bucks may be the font runners to land Josh Smith, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reports. The deal would look something like Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and other players for Smith and Devin Harris.

10:05 am: The Lakers are looking to shed a little salary and are offering Steve Blake, Chris Duhon, Devin Ebanks, Darius Morris for 2nd-round picks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

Contrary to earlier reports, the Magic are still looking at Redick deals and have some offers of first round picks, they are just in the 20s and the Magic are holding out something better comes along, reports Wojnarowski.

Golden State is trying to unload some of the guys at the end of their bench to get under the luxury tax line.

9:55 am: Sounds like the Bucks and Dallas have a deal in place to send reserve point guard Beno Udrih to Texas, but it’s on hold in case Udrih becomes part of the ongoing talks between the Bucks and Hawks about Josh Smith, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

9:50 am: Here is where we stand as the morning tips off:

• The Orlando Magic apparently told J.J. Redick they were not going to trade him. I wouldn’t bet on that. Lots of teams still interested and talking to Orlando.

• It depends on who you talk to and when, I guess. Ken Berger at CBSSports says the Rockets are “involved at high level” in Josh Smith talks. Then Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports reports the Rockets appear to be out of the Josh Smith sweepstakes, because Atlanta asking for Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons, which is a pretty steep price. The Rockets will have the cap space to go after Smith (or Dwight Howard, or anyone) this summer as a free agent if they so choose.

• The Raptors are the front-runners to land Sebastian Telfair, reports Wojnarowski. This makes sense, after the Jose Calderon trade the Raptors need some depth at the point and Telfair is out of the rotation in Phoenix.

• Andrea Bargnani likely is not moved at the deadline, reports the Toronto Sun. That fits with the rumblings out there, the fact is the Raptors couldn’t get real value back for him. Why? Teams have seen Bargnani play.

• The Spurs may not move DeJuan Blair after all, reports David Aldridge of TNT. That may just be posturing as the Spurs try to get a better deal. If he does stay it sucks for Blair, who has been squeezed out of the rotation.

Ken Berger of CBS brings us another report that the Nets don’t want Ben Gordon of the Bobcats. The Nets really want to get that news out there.

LeBron James calls Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson ‘probably the two greatest shooters that we’ve probably ever seen’

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shakes hands with Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors after the Warriors defeated the Cavs 105 to 97 to win Game Six of the 2015 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James has already felt the stinging spray from the Splash Brothers in the NBA Finals.

When league MVP Stephen Curry and trigger-happy Golden State teammate Klay Thompson are knocking down 3-pointers from 30 feet, swishing contested jumpers over taller players and destroying defenses designed to stop them, the only option is pray they miss.

“Some of those shots,” James said. “There’s nothing you can do about it.”

As the Cavaliers, considerably healthier than they were a year ago, prepare to take on the 73-win Warriors in the finals again, they know their chances of ending Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought hinge on how well they defend Curry, Thompson & Co.

Stopping the Warriors is impossible. Slowing them isn’t.

“They shoot the ball extremely well,” James said before the team left for California and Game 1 on Thursday. “Klay and Steph are probably the two greatest shooters that we’ve probably ever seen. Better offense beats great defense any day. So we have to be able to do other things to stop them, but it’s hard to contain them.

“We all know that. The whole league knows that. Our team knows that. But we have a game plan and we have to follow it and be true to it.”

Although they won’t admit it publicly, the Cavs have been eyeing a rematch with the Warriors since losing to them in six games last year.

James back then was virtually on his own after Kevin Love separated his left shoulder in the first round and Kyrie Irving shattered his left kneecap in Game 1 of the finals. James did everything possible, averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists – an unprecedented finals stat line – but it wasn’t enough. The Warriors had too much ball movement, athleticism and depth.

While fans, the league office and TV executives clamored for a Curry-James rematch, the Cavs claim they were ready for any opponent.

“It didn’t matter,” said James, appearing in his sixth straight finals. “Like Coach (Tyronn) Lue said, we’re just waiting on the winner. We’re fortunate to be here and we look forward to the challenge. It’s an unbelievable team that we’re going against. Hats off.”

This time around, the Cavs have comparable talent.

That won’t matter, though, if they don’t defend.

Curry appears back to normal after dealing with a knee injury earlier in the postseason, and Thompson made a postseason-record 11 3s and scored 41 in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals. The Warriors erased a 3-1 deficit to end Oklahoma City’s season and set up Golden State vs. Cleveland, the sequel.

Irving will likely be matched up with Curry. But it won’t fall solely on him to check the game’s purest shooter.

J.R. Smith has been Cleveland’s best defender all season, and at 6-foot-6, his size could give Curry (generously listed as 6-3) some trouble. Matthew Dellavedova tenaciously hounded Curry in last year’s finals until he exhausted himself and wound up hospitalized. James, too, will guard Curry in certain situations.

One of Cleveland’s primary challenges will be the way it deals with Golden State’s pick and rolls designed to get Curry mismatches. Thunder center Serge Ibaka found himself isolated on Curry late in Monday’s Game 7 and committed a costly foul trying to block a 3.

The Warriors expose weaknesses.

“It’s tough,” Lue said of combating Golden State’s screens. “It’s one of two things: either you can switch and have a big (man) on Curry and have him take the shots over your big or you can double-team Steph and throw it back to Draymond (Green), who’s probably the best playmaker at that position in the league and now you have a four-on-three or a three-on-two. So you got to pick your poison.”

Golden State shot its way back against Oklahoma City, draining a league record 90 3-pointers to complete a comeback Lue feels only heightens the aura around these modern-day Western gunslingers.

The Cavs learned in last year’s finals they can’t leave Curry and Thompson for a millisecond.

“You always have to have your antennas up,” Lue said. “You can never relax because they’re always moving. We got to be sharp and stick to our principles and know what we’re supposed to do.”

The Cavs will study scouting reports and break down film to be ready.

And, even then, James knows that may not be enough.

“You still gotta try to stop them,” he said. “And that’s a tall task.”

Andre Iguodala on Kevin Durant: ‘It must be fun playing with a guy like that… Unless I’m not playing with him’

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 30:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives with the ball against Andre Iguodala #9 of the Golden State Warriors in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 30, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The 76ers’ season ended years ago, so Joel Embiid could get a head start on recruiting Kevin Durant.

The Warriors did most of their recruiting on the court, making Durant’s final memory of the Thunder’s season three straight losses. That certainly opens the door for Durant leaving Oklahoma City more than an NBA Finals berth would have.

Some flattery wouldn’t hurt, either – even as Golden State prepares to face the Cavaliers in the Finals.

Andre Iguodala, via Jimmy Durkin of The Mercury News:

“He made some really tough shots, which is what I expected,” Iguodala said of Durant. “He’s a fighter and competitor and fought to the end. It must be fun playing with a guy like that.”

Iguodala quickly added a follow-up: “Unless I’m not playing with him.”

I appreciate Iguodala’s humor about what could be a difficult situation. The Warriors went a record 73-9 and they’re chasing their second straight title – and rumors persist about breaking up the team to chase Durant this summer. That could disrupt chemistry and focus.

But the players in the crosshairs if Golden State needs to trim salary – namely Iguodala, Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli – have at least outwardly downplayed the potential distraction. The results also indicate the players aren’t causing major problems behind the scenes, either.

I’m sure the Warriors would love to keep all four and sign Durant, but the salary cap makes that unfeasible. Iguodala has done so much for this team –  including winning Finals MVP, playing standout defense on Durant in these conference finals. But he also plays Durant’s position and is 32, two factors that make him more expendable.

Iguodala surely knows all that, but he’s clearly taking it in stride and hoping for the best-case scenario – that Durant signs with the Warriors and Iguodala is one of the players who stays to play with the super team.

Why is Stephen Curry’s toughness questioned? Warriors coach Steve Kerr: ‘Because he looks like he’s 12’

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 30:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors speaks to members of the media following their 96-88 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 30, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Fresh charcoal gray NBA Finals cap on backward and wearing a wide grin, Stephen Curry summed up his wild, up-and-down postseason so far and reminded everybody he’s not close to done.

The MVP’s got his groove back, all right – looking healthy again at last after dealing with a troublesome ankle, right knee sprain that sidelined him and even a puffy elbow from an awkward dive into the stands.

“Now we’re four wins away from our goal, and that’s a pretty special accomplishment,” Curry said Monday night after his Golden State Warriors wrapped up the Western Conference finals by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7.

Curry is taking the 73-win Warriors back to the NBA Finals with a shot at a second straight championship, his plan from the get go.

Golden State’s ultimate goal of a repeat title has been in the works since Day 1, even if the Warriors’ chances of digging out of a big hole against Oklahoma City looked dire just last week. His body beat up, Curry had no choice but to watch fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson and others carry the Warriors for much of this postseason run while he worked his way back.

It’s his time again.

Just as he did after the Warriors won Game 5 to stave off elimination, Curry chanted through Oracle Arena, “We ain’t going home!” as Golden State became just the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a postseason series with Monday night’s 96-88 Game 7 victory.

Curry and his teammates earned a day off Tuesday before preparations begin in earnest Wednesday for a Finals rematch against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost last season’s title to Golden State in six games.

For Curry, there’s just one more step to take to cap a remarkable, record-setting season.

The 28-year-old global superstar earned the first unanimous MVP award in league history, while also becoming the first player not only to make 300 3-pointers in a season but also 400 – he finished with 402 – before a series of injuries slowed him when it mattered most.

There was the injured ankle in the first-round Houston series, then he returned only to slip on a wet spot in Game 4 against the Rockets and sprained his right knee. He made a dive into the Oracle Arena stands against the Thunder and gave himself a puffy elbow, and for a few games Curry hardly looked comfortable with his typically breezy ballhandling and shoot-from-anywhere rhythm.

Until he did again.

His teammates have come to expect nothing less, even when Curry’s body is hurting and speculation swirls about whether he is playing somewhere around 70 percent. He has learned to block out the chatter along the way, knowing that just comes with being the best.

“That’s really one thing that I admire about him. He’s a person that’s never going to change for anybody. He hasn’t changed to try to prove anything,” said 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala. “He just stayed true to himself.”

Curry scored 36 points in the deciding game while making seven 3-pointers and dishing out eight assists. He wound up with 32 3s against the Thunder, the most ever in a seven-game postseason series.

“I feel joy, for sure,” he said. “This is an unbelievable accomplishment, to go back to back to the Finals and continue this journey. So I’m kind of just taking in the moment and enjoying it with my teammates.”

And for anybody still questioning his toughness, Coach of the Year Steve Kerr brushes such things aside with another timely joke: “Because he looks like he’s 12.”

Perhaps it’s easy to forget how Curry led the Warriors to an NBA-record 24-0 start and a record 73-9 finish.

“You have an MVP, two-time, and what he contributes every single night and what he means on the floor for them, you just have to have your antenna up even more,” Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving said.

Four more wins, that’s all Curry cares about right now. However they come.

“The one thing with Steph is he understands that with all these accolades, MVPs, commercials, with all that comes great responsibility to his team, to the organization, the fans. He gets that,” Kerr said. “He understands that if you play poorly, you’re going to get blamed if you’re the star. He’s had a rough playoff go because of the injuries. I think he finally felt right physically the last couple games. And this is who he is. Having a clutch performance in a Game 7. That’s Steph Curry.”

AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.

Report: Kevin Durant’s agent told Celtics what players Durant would want to join him in Boston

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The Celtics believe they’ll get a meeting with Kevin Durant summer.

What gives them that idea?

Maybe preliminary conversations with the Thunder star’s agent.

Butch Stearns of WEEI:

I have this on pretty good authority. The Celtics have sat with his agent and other representatives of Durant. The Celtics do know — I don’t know who it is — but they do know who he would prefer to be brought here in a LeBron-Chris BoshDwyane Wade-like way. Because that’s how it works in the NBA. You need to know who the guy or guys that that guy wants, which would be a factor.

Now, I don’t know if Durant’s told them that. But the Celtics know. They know. They’ve been told what group of guys he would want to come here.

It’d be quite logical for Durant to send this request through backchannels. It doesn’t mean he’ll sign with the Celtics even if they add his desired future teammates. How many teams received the same list of players from Durant’s camp? But it gives him a potentially more appealing option.

Durant is so valuable, teams will jump through hoops just to increase their chance of signing him. He’s well within his rights to wield that power to increase the likelihood he finds the ideal spot. The more good options, the better chance he has of picking a great one.

The Celtics have plenty of intriguing assets – the Nos. 3, 16 and 23 picks this year, swap rights on the Nets’ 2017 first-rounder, the Nets’ 2018 first-rounder, a loosely protected Grizzlies’ first rounder and potentially enough cap space to sign two max free agents this summer (if they waive the unguaranteed Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko and renounced all their free agents). But those assets just represent theoretical improvement to Durant, who wants to win now. Boston must prove it can flip the picks and cap space for capable veterans – more specifically, the capable veterans Durant wants to play with.

With that ammo, the Celtics could land plenty of players. If it means getting Durant, Boston should even offer more in a trade than the incoming player would be worth in a vacuum.

The Celtics aren’t devoid of winning players. They have an All-Star in Isaiah Thomas, who’s recruiting Durant. They just don’t have enough – not yet.

But it’s possible to see a route that leads to a quick roster upgrade and Durant signing. A longshot? Probably. But having a legitimate plan at this point would put Boston ahead of several other Durant’s suitors.

Of course, the Warriors loom, and I doubt they got this list. They’re already so good. The Celtics’ challenge is becoming more appealing than Golden State and Oklahoma City, and Boston is working from behind. But at least the Celtics know what Durant wants them working on, and they might have the assets to complete his tasks.