Despite the drama surrounding San Antonio, the Spurs remain optimistic that Kawhi Leonard will agree to sign a supermax extension with the team this summer. However, until he officially signs the extension, rumors will continue to swirl about his potential departure. As the offseason approaches, several NBA teams are expected to explore the possibility of trading for Leonard, including the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics are one of few title-contending teams who have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster trade. They are currently in a strong position to give the Spurs a “grand slam offer” if ever they consider making Kawhi Leonard officially available on the trading block. To make things more interesting for Boston, the team (Philadelphia 76ers) who is expected to challenge them in the Eastern Conference supremacy for the next couple of years is currently the top favorite to land Leonard in the upcoming offseason, according to Matt Burke of Metro USA.
“Another thing that Ainge, who has made his bones as an out-of-the-box thinker, has to be aware of is the fact that the Celtics’ primary competition in the Eastern Conference for the next decade – the Philadelphia 76ers – will also be targeting Leonard this summer. In fact, Philly is the favorite to land Kawhi as he would be the perfect complement to the poor shooting Ben Simmons and the unicorn known as Joel Embiid.”
Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge will surely not let their top competitor in the East acquire Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs. If Leonard joins Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid in Philadelphia, the Celtics would have a lesser chance of fully dominating the Eastern Conference even if Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward returns 100 percent healthy next season. Boston should do their best to prevent one of the worst nightmares from happening, and it will be possible by sacrificing young players and multiple draft picks.
Though Jayson Tatum is currently unavailable via trade, the Celtics could use Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier to convince the Spurs to make a deal. In Metro USA‘s suggested trade scenario, Boston will send Brown, Rozier, Marcus Morris, Guerschon Yabusele, Abdel Nader, the Sacramento Kings’ first-round pick, and the Memphis Grizzlies’ first-round pick to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard. The deal will undeniably be beneficial not only for the Celtics but also for the Spurs.
In exchange for Leonard, the Spurs will receive two young players who could help them become a significant team in the league once again. Terry Rozier, who started in place of Irving last season, could serve as the Spurs starting point guard, while Jaylen Brown will be Leonard’s replacement in the wing. With his impressive performance last season, Brown has drawn comparisons with Leonard. His ceiling may not be as high as Tatum, but there is no doubt that he’s taking the right path to stardom.