The NBA’s silly season waits for no one, it appears.
The Boston Celtics are in the thick of a surprising playoff run and sit one win away from an Eastern Conference finals appearance. But in San Antonio, folks already are speculating about the future of Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, who looks like a prime candidate to be traded amid reports of his discontent.
In fact, there are odds in Vegas on where Leonard will end up this season, and Boston is on the shortlist. So, Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News fired up the trade machine over the weekend and proposed a hypothetical Spurs-Celtics deal involving Leonard.
Here’s the trade:
Boston gets: Kawhi Leonard.
Spurs get: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Greg Monroe and a first-round pick.
McDonald notes his trade proposal is “completely made up” and “for entertainment purposes only.” That’s accurate, because we’d imagine C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge would find this quite amusing.
Tatum and Brown have emerged as cornerstones of Boston’s future. The former is breaking playoff records held by Kobe Bryant and Larry Bird, while the latter more than doubled his scoring output in his second NBA season. Their combined age is 41. It would take a lot for Ainge to part with one of his young stars, but dealing both and a first-round NBA draft pick? For a guy who played in a total of nine games this season?
(Also, Monroe is an unrestricted free agent this summer, so he technically couldn’t be included in this deal unless the C’s re-signed him.)
Of course, a “Big Four” of Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford is a very enticing scenario for Boston. Disappointing 2017-18 campaign aside, Leonard still is one of the NBA’s best players when healthy, and the Celtics would have to give up at least Brown or Tatum to acquire him.
But considering how far Tatum and Brown have taken Boston during the postseason — without Irving and Hayward — it seems unfathomable Ainge and Co. would consider trading both of his prized young assets.