Kawhi Leonard is one of the best two-way players in the NBA, but would a trade for the star forward be a foolproof move?
The idea of Leonard being dealt continues to gain traction in the wake of the 26-year-old’s bizarre 2017-18 season in which he only played nine games due to a quad injury. Although there currently are no reports indicating the San Antonio Spurs are trying to trade Leonard, that hasn’t stopped the basketball world from speculating where he could end up should a deal take place.
While Boston has been targeted as one of the more attractive landing spots for Leonard, the Celtics might not be as gung-ho about the idea. In a recent column for ESPN, Zach Lowe highlighted some of the reservations Danny Ainge and Co. might have about trading for the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
“Boston still struggles getting to the rim and finishing there,” Lowe writes. “There will be droughts in which the Celtics feel the void left by Irving and Hayward. They will hunt talent upgrades in the offseason, like they always do. (Note to San Antonio Spurs fans pitching Kawhi Leonard deals involving Tatum and lots of other stuff: It’s not clear Boston would do Tatum for Leonard straight up without getting a clean bill of health for Leonard and an assurance he re-signs. Tatum is on a rookie deal for three more seasons. A max deal for Leonard would make it hard to keep guys like Smart and Rozier, even for the short term.)”
None of Boston’s reported demands are excessive. Leonard’s health now has become a legitimate cause for concern, which certainly is something that should be taken seriously by any inquiring team. Not to mention, the Celtics don’t exactly need Leonard, so parting ways with top-tier assets for a player surrounded by question marks doesn’t seem like the brightest idea.
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