Kevin Durant trade talks got juiced this week when reports of the Boston Celtics being in the mix with a Jaylen Brown offer were leaked. (That leak seemed pretty convenient for the Nets who wanted to rekindle stalled talks; it certainly created discussion among fans, although maybe less so among teams.)
One team often speculated about in the trade mix is the New Orleans Pelicans, who could put together a trade package based around All-Star Brandon Ingram (maybe with Devonte' Graham and picks). The idea in the Big Easy was that Durant is an upgrade over Ingram, and surrounded by a healthy Zion Williamson (*knocks on wood*), CJ McCollum, and role players such as Jonas Valenciunas, Larry Nance Jr., Herb Jones and others this team could be in the mix at the top of the West.
Except, the Pelicans have not put Ingram into trade talks, reports Michael Scotto on the Hoopshype podcast:
You wondered if Brandon Ingram of the Pelicans could be a guy that’s put on the table? To this point, I’ve heard he’s not been put on the table. I also didn’t see Durant necessarily wanting to go to New Orleans as well.
The second part of Scotto’s comment may be what kills any Pelicans trade talk. While Durant technically doesn’t have any say in where he is traded because he has four years left on his contract, in reality he could not show up or otherwise be disruptive. If Durant doesn’t want to be in New Orleans, he will not be in New Orleans.
The Pelicans also need to answer a bigger-picture question, one the Celtics are dealing with on some level: Is it better for them to build with their younger guys that they groomed — the ones fans have an attachment to — or to trade those players to acquire a contender? New Orleans seems to be leaning toward keeping their guys if Ingram is unavailable. Also, David Griffin and New Orleans may want to see what they really have: Zion, Ingram, McCollum and the rest of this group have never played together. When they do, just how good are they?
So the Durant trade drama drags on, and despite all the rumors and talk in the media and from fans, people around the league expect this to last into training camp at the least.