"Durant sees Boston as a desired landing spot, per people familiar with the matter," Begley wrote on Wednesday. "Durant also would like to play with Boston’s Marcus Smart if he is traded to the Celtics, per people familiar with the matter."
During an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show Tuesday, The Athletic's Shams Charania said the Celtics were "a leading team" to acquire Durant in a trade with the Nets, but said Boston was hesitant to include several players from its core starting lineup, including Smart and All-Star swingman Jaylen Brown.
"The Celtics are probably a leading team for Kevin Durant when you look at the pieces that they have," Charania said. "Jaylen Brown, you're able to add draft picks, other players. If Brooklyn goes that direction you want as much as you can get and that includes Marcus Smart, that includes draft picks, which, right now, from I'm told, Boston is not inclined to do.
"And so, that really what's going on here, there's a stalemate on all fronts and we have about a month and a half before training camp now."
On Monday, Charania reported that Durant reiterated his trade request and gave Nets owner Joe Tsai an ultimatum during a face-to-face meeting over the weekend.
Durant reportedly told Tsai that he doesn't have faith in the Nets' direction and insisted that Tsai "choose between Durant or the pairing of general manager Sean Marks or coach Steve Nash," sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed.
The sources described the meeting between Durant and Tsai -- which took place exactly one year after the All-Star agreed to a four-year, $198 million contract extension -- as "transparent and professional," according to Charania.
On June 30, Durant's business manager, Rich Kleiman, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that Marks was working with him and Durant on finding a trade for the former NBA regular season and Finals MVP.
Wojnarowski reports that Durant included the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat on his wish list of trade partners, however, specified that the Nets planned to move the perennial All-Star to whatever team offers the best deal.
In June, Charania reported that Durant was weighing his options and monitoring the Nets' situation regarding point guard Kyrie Irving's future before Irving's player option for 2022-23 was exercised days later.
Durant and Irving both signed with the Nets as free agents in 2019, making Brooklyn an immediate favorite to contend for an NBA championship.
However, the Nets have failed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals since the duo joined the team, with Irving missing the majority of their first season together due to injuries and the 2021-22 regular season due to New York's COVID restrictions prohibiting him from playing in home games without being vaccinated.
Durant, a 12-time All-Star selection, averaged 29.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game during the 2021-22 season.
The Celtics eliminated the Nets in the first round of an eventual run through the 2022 NBA Playoffs before being defeated by the Golden State Warriors in six games during the NBA Finals.
Boston has since bolstered its already stacked lineup by acquiring guard Malcolm Brogdon in a blockbuster trade with the Indiana Pacers.