The Boston Celtics can’t expect to acquire San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard if they’re unwilling to give up any of their five best players in a potential trade.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported Tuesday what the Celtics haven’t offered for Leonard, and it’s their starting lineup from the opening game of the 2017-18 season.
“Boston hasn’t included five players, including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford,” the ESPN report stated. “The Celtics and Sixers have offered pick-heavy packages that haven’t moved the Spurs, league sources said.”
It’s smart of the Celtics to go pick-heavy in their trade offers. They own the Sacramento Kings’ 2019 first-round selection, protected for No. 1 overall. That pick should be in the top seven given the Kings’ recent incompetence. Boston also owns three other potential 2019 first rounders, including its own pick, and picks from the Memphis Grizzlies (top-seven protected) and Los Angeles Clippers (lottery protected).
There’s absolutely no reason to give up Tatum or Brown in a Leonard trade. Each player already is very good at both ends of the floor, but perhaps their biggest value is the team-friendly rookie contracts under which they’re playing.
It’s hard to imagine Leonard being traded to the Celtics if this report is accurate. While these draft picks are nice, the Spurs should try to acquire young players in return for the 2014 NBA Finals MVP.
Another Eastern Conference team, the Toronto Raptors, are the betting favorites to land Leonard.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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