BOSTON (CBS) -- Celtics fans really want Kevin Durant. Perhaps even more so, they really really don't want Dwight Howard.
The news of Boston landing a meeting with the three-time defensive player of the year, who hasn't really played like a defensive player of the year for some time, is being met with an abundance of scorn on social media. It seems like fans would rather have the team move to Hartford than picture Howard in a Celtics uniform.
Howard certainly has his warts, leaving deep scars with each of his three former teams throughout his 12-year career. Howard knows this too, telling Jackie MacMullen just last month that he understands this summer is likely his final chance for a big contract.
The fact he's considering getting that contract from the Celtics is a good sign. Granted, with Howard, you don't know if that means he's just after the truckload of cash. But he stressed to MacMullen that he wants to be a winner. The fact a free agent, albeit one on the second tier, is giving the Celtics a chance is a promising sign for a franchise that has struggled to attract marquee free agents.
Howard's meeting is the latest in a trend this offseason. Boston will have a chance to woo Kevin Durant this weekend on Long Island, one of only six teams who will get that opportunity. They'll also meet with free agent Al Horford after free agency gets underway on July 1.
Even if the chances are slim of Boston landing Durant, or Horford, or even Howard, the Celtics are becoming major players in the impending free agency race. Having cap space to had out two max contracts helps, which is a luxury the Celtics have not had since before Howard or Durant were born.
The trepidation (or anger) fans feel towards a potential Howard signing is warranted, despite Boston's need for a rim protector in the frontcourt. Even on one of those fancy new "1+1" deals, where the second year isn't guaranteed, it's a risk given the player's maturity issues and the potential to completely derail all the good the Celtics have had the last two seasons. Then again, if it helps land Kevin Durant, then anything should be on the table (though it should be noted, those two don't really have a wonderful relationship on the floor).
But most importantly, fans should be happy free agents are considering Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens' team as a viable option this time around. That's something these parts haven't been able to say for quite a long time.
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