The Boston Celtics weren’t willing to part with any of their best players to swing a deal for Kawhi Leonard, and the Toronto Raptors were.
In the end, the Raptors ended up acquiring the star swingman from the San Antonio Spurs, but it sounds like the Celtics put together a pretty good package, too.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe said earlier this week on his podcast that the Celtics were willing to offer a draft pick-heavy package to the Spurs in exchange for Leonard, who long since had grown disgruntled with being a Spur and could become a free agent as earlier as next summer.
“I think the Celtics offered most of their best draft picks,” he said. “I don’t think the Celtics just offered ‘You can have a bunch of our picks,’ I think some of the picks they own — at least two of the picks, if not all of them they own from other teams, including the Kings, Grizzlies and Clippers — I think those were all in the deal, and the Spurs were like ‘Nah, we don’t want that.'”
If the Spurs really wanted to start over and rebuild, the Celtics would have afforded them the best opportunity to do so. In addition to their own picks, Boston’s offer could have included all of these picks:
Sacramento’s 2019 first-round pick (protected for No. 1)
L.A. Clippers’ 2019 first-round pick
Memphis’ 2019 first-round pick
That would be an impressive collection of first-round picks for the Spurs, especially if they decided to tank. It’s not unrealistic to believe they could end up with at least two — maybe even three — lottery picks.
But as Lowe also mentioned, the Spurs aren’t willing to go into a full rebuild at this point, which would explain their decision to take Toronto’s offer, which centered around DeMar DeRozan.