Now that LeBron James is playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics are emerging as the top team to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals next season. However, according to Colton Jones of Amico Hoops, Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge made it clear that his team is not playing just to rule the East but to win an NBA championship.
The Celtics currently have one of the most talented rosters in the league, and they could further improve their team with the potential acquisition of Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs. With young talents like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum off-limits, Jordan Greer of Sporting News suggested a superstar-for-superstar trade between the Celtics and the Spurs involving Gordon Hayward and Leonard.
In the proposed trade, the Celtics would send Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills. The suggested trade works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. The deal would be beneficial for both teams as it will help them both address some issues on their roster.
“As for the second trade, the Spurs stay competitive in the West with Hayward replacing Leonard at small forward and Rozier terrorizing opposing backcourts with Dejounte Murray. Trading away Hayward after a brutal injury would be cold, but Danny Ainge isn’t exactly the sentimental type, as Isaiah Thomas can tell you. Mills is a nice addition to back up Irving as well.”
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) July 12, 2018
In exchange for a player who’s forcing his way out of the team, the Spurs will be receiving another superstar, Gordon Hayward, whose contract runs until the 2020-21 NBA season. As a bonus, the Spurs will also acquire a young and talented point guard in Terry Rozier, whom they could mold as the next Tony Parker. Rozier showed his superstar potential last season, helping the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference finals despite losing Kyrie Irving and Hayward to injury.
Meanwhile, the deal will enable the Celtics to become a more dangerous team with the addition of one of the best two-way players in the league. Kawhi Leonard is not only a very reliable option on the offensive end of the floor, but he can also be tasked to guard the opposing team’s best player. When healthy, no one can deny the fact that Leonard is a much better player than Hayward, and he could be more helpful for the Celtics in beating the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors in a best-of-seven series.