San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard is currently the hottest commodity on the trade market. Though the Spurs remains optimistic that he will sign the massive contract extension, it is highly unlikely that they will hold Leonard for long, especially after the disgruntled superstar expressed his desire to be traded somewhere else. Several NBA teams have already made a call to the Spurs, including the Boston Celtics.
The Celtics are one of the NBA teams in the league who has a plethora of trade assets that can convince the Spurs to engage in a blockbuster deal. In the past offseasons, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge has been aggressive on the free agency and trade market, trying to add a superstar to their team, so it is not a surprise that Boston inquired about Kawhi Leonard’s availability via trade. According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Celtics recently engaged in a trade discussion with the Spurs, but their brief conversation reportedly “went nowhere.”
“A Western Conference source with an interest in the proceedings told the Herald the Spurs did have a brief discussion with the Celts today, but there was no real negotiation. It was the first contact between the teams since before the draft, but even those talks did not include the C’s making an offer. That brief call, according to two league sources, went nowhere.”
So far, it remains unknown why the trade negotiation between the Spurs and the Celtics didn’t come to fruition. However, Bulpett revealed that the Celtics are not willing to include Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum in the trade package that they will offer to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. This could be the reason why the Spurs immediately ended their conversation with the Celtics.
Brown and Tatum had impressive years in the 2017-18 NBA season. Despite the absence of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, both young players led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference finals and forced a Game 7 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Acquiring either Brown and Tatum would be a good start for the Spurs, especially if they decide to undergo a full-scale rebuild once Leonard leaves the team.
With their goal to acquire another superstar, it would not be a surprise if the Celtics change their mind and decide to trade Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum for Kawhi Leonard. However, as Bulpett noted, the Celtics first want to talk to Leonard before proceeding with any deal with the Spurs. The Celtics want to get some assurance that Leonard is already 100 percent recovered from the quadriceps injury and intends to stay in Boston beyond the 2018-19 NBA season.