With Kyrie Irving reportedly sidelined for the rest of the season and the playoffs, it has become hard to imagine how the Boston Celtics would be able to compete with the best teams in the East as the postseason comes. Thus, looking forward to this summer could be an option for the squad as they can potentially sign another superstar player once again.
Kawhi Leonard trade rumors currently dominate the NBA’s rumor mill, and according to hypothetical trades created by analysts, the Celtics are the top landing spot for the former NBA Finals MVP. Recently, NESN indicated that Boston may offer four players and a future first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs for their two-time All-Star small forward.
In his report, Dakota Randall cited Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale as the source of the suggested trade, which would send Leonard to Boston in exchange for Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Daniel Theis, and a 2019 top-eight protected first-rounder.
Randall noted that the Celtics’ offer may be “too steep of a price to pay” considering Leonard is going to be an unrestricted free agent next year. However, passing up the opportunity to gather four All-Stars in one team (Leonard, Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford) would be unthinkable for team president Danny Ainge.
Letting go of Tatum is viewed as a hard decision to make for Ainge as the rookie has been one of the team’s best players after Boston lost Hayward and Irving to injuries. Tatum is averaging 13.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.0 steals in 30.6 minutes per game for head coach Brad Stevens. However, Favale said in his separate report that sacrificing the former Duke standout would be “worth the roof-less ceiling on a Fantastic Four of Hayward, Irving, Leonard and Horford” moving forward.
Favale also said that Boston may be able to keep Tatum if they include more future first-round picks in the deal, including the 2019 Sacramento Kings selection. If San Antonio decides to go the full-rebuild route, then a trade including multiple first-rounders might allow them to save Tatum.
Meanwhile, a recent Sports Illustrated article said that the Celtics are only willing to trade Tatum if a deal includes New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. Davis is another top-tier player who is currently linked to Boston, and the club is expected to go after him as well in the offseason.