BOSTON (CBS) -- Everyone in Boston was hoping that Kevin Durant would choose the Celtics. Everyone in Boston was disappointed.
But according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical, Boston was never really in it.
"One of the things that Kevin made clear from what I was told throughout this courtship from multiple teams was that he was going to go to the place that gave him the best chance to win. And at the time of Boston's meeting, they didn't really have the team," Mannix said Tuesday on Toucher & Rich, noting that the Al Horford signing came after the Celtics' meeting with Durant. "Everything I was told is that it came down to Golden State and it came down to Oklahoma City."
From a basketball standpoint, Rich had a simple question for Mannix: Who can beat the Warriors?
"Nobody. And that's what's kind of stupid about the NBA right now," Mannix said. "If people are going to be pissed at somebody, be pissed at the 30 owners and the idiot players association that just would not find a way to make this salary cap spike a little more manageable. The owners should have had the foresight back in 2011 when they were negotiating the collective-bargaining agreement to see what a massive new TV deal was going to do to the cap. Now maybe no one could have foreseen what a triple -- which is what the number was -- of the TV deal was going to be, but they should have had some more foresight. And the union, I don't know why they seem so disinterested in engaging the NBA on this smoothing practice. It wouldn't have cost them any money in the long term. Players would still get their 51 percent of the revenue, but they were just adamantly against it. And as a result, we have the formation of yet another superteam, which is going to be fun to watch ratings-wise when they go up against Cleveland and San Antonio, and it'll be great for local ratings when they play the Celtics and whomever, but they now have total control of the NBA for the next four years, and that's not good for the NBA."
That's not good for the NBA or the Celtics, but the team still needs to try to improve any way it can. With that in mind, might it be possible for the Celtics to land Russell Westbrook in a trade with Oklahoma City?
"Maybe Danny [Ainge] can find a palatable deal with Oklahoma City, because if you add Russell Westbrook to a core that already includes Al Horford and may continue to include Isaiah Thomas, then all of a sudden you've got a team that will be competitive in the Eastern Conference with Cleveland right away," Mannix said. "You're not going to beat Sam Presti in a deal like this. He's like the Ice Man of general managers, he just wears people down and is going to wait it out as long as he has to wait it out to make something like this. I would think it's going to take most if not all of the Brooklyn picks, the swap [with Brooklyn] next year, probably Marcus Smart as well. It would take a Godfather deal.
"I had a GM text me last night [saying] Russell is the next true superstar to hit the free-agent market [in 2017], he is every bit the superstar that Kevin Durant is. So if you can get Russell, and you can convince him to stay -- and I think one thing Boston has going for it is that once guys get to Boston, like Kevin Garnett did, like Ray Allen did, when they get to Boston they start to fall in love with it because the fan base is so good and the team is so well-coached. If you can convince Russell to stay, that's something that you could really be happy with."
Again, just like with the Durant pursuit, it's far from a lock, but it is possible.
"Boston's the type of team with the assets that could at least, I think, make an interesting offer," Mannix said.
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