Could the Boston Celtics shake the basketball world with a blockbuster trade for the second consecutive summer?
While the Celtics don’t necessarily need to trade for Kawhi Leonard, many have thought of Boston as a solid landing spot for the star forward if the San Antonio Spurs decide to cut ties with him.
It obviously would take a haul to bring in Leonard, and in a recent column for ESPN, Amin Elhassan floated the idea of the C’s parting ways with the man they brought in last offseason to be their franchise cornerstone.
In Elhassan’s hypothetical deal, Boston acquires Leonard in exchange for Kyrie Irving, the Celtics’ 2018 first-round pick and any other picks needed to get the trade done.
Here’s Elhassan’s full explanation:
This is an aggressive play for Leonard, to be sure, but in a league increasingly favoring offenses that are predicated on preventing ball-stopping, while highly valuing the ability to switch everything defensively, it’s not hard to see how this is a no-brainer for Boston.
Leonard is the poster child for offensive efficiency, and with a lineup of 6-foot-8-plus athletes across the board, Boston would boast a deep enough, well-coached, flexible roster that could legitimately contend with the Golden State Warriors.
Pending the physical, the Celtics would be best served by aggressively pursuing Leonard, going so far as to entertain adding additional picks (up to and including the Lakers/Kings pick owed from the Jayson Tatum deal last June). Re-signing Marcus Smart would become a priority, and the return of Gordon Hayward would provide some of the playmaking lost by Irving’s departure.
While at first glance a trade involving Irving sounds foolish, Elhassan makes some interesting points to justify the hypothetical deal. That said, Boston has all the pieces to contend for a championship next season when you factor the return of their injured players. Leonard could seamlessly fit into Brad Stevens’ system, but it might not be worth shaking things up so much to bring him in.
Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports