Would You Want Kawhi Leonard If He Became Available?

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The world without sports has been interesting to say the least and the creative minds in the world are always looking for fresh ideas to keep fans engaged.  Bleacher Report did just that by releasing an article on May 1 going over proposed blockbuster trades that would help the Boston Celtics get some of the best players in the NBA.  The proposed trade I would like to focus on would be a hypothetical deal between the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Photo courtesy of theathletic.com

The Clippers this season are second in the Western Conference with 44 wins and a roster that can compete with a tough Lakers team.  Bleacher Report suggested the Clippers could trade Kawhi Leonard to the Boston Celtics for Jaylen Brown, Romeo Langford and two first round picks.  The likelihood of a trade of this magnitude is low considering Leonard is the face of the Clippers organization, but the Celtics have the ammo to get a deal like this done. 

Why would the Clippers want to trade Leonard?  The Clippers were aggressive in their pursuits of Leonard to bring him to Los Angeles.  When the Clippers signed Leonard, they also invested a lot of draft capital in then Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George.  The Clippers traded four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick and two pick swaps.  The Clippers are investing their future in Leonard and George, they also kept him from the Lakers and LeBron. 

Both Leonard and George could become free agents following the 2020-2021 season if they decline their player options.  If both players feel that they can win and at a high level in Los Angeles, it would be a no-brainer to exercise those options and remain in the Western Conference together.  But what if the Clippers had a feeling that Leonard could walk?  The Boston Celtics have the ability to put together a package to potential bring Leonard to Boston.

Celtics General Manager and President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has had interest in Leonard in the past.  If Ainge feels there is value in acquiring Leonard, he has the stockpile to get a deal done or at the very least get a seat at the dinner table with the Clippers.  The Bleacher Report suggests that the Celtics’ Brown would be the centerpiece of the deal, but could the draft picks be enough to sweeten the deal?  The Celtics have draft assets in their bunker, but with teams playing better than expected the value of those picks may not carry the cache Ainge was initially hoping for. 

Ainge had an opportunity to acquire Leonard in the past according to Sports Illustrated’s senior writer Chris Mannix.  At the time, Leonard was still a member of the San Antonio Spurs and the relationship he was having with the team was deteriorating.  The Spurs were shopping Leonard who had one year left on his contract and the Celtics were interested.  Ainge had some trepidation about completing a deal of the magnitude it would to acquire Leonard with one year remaining on his contract.  Mannix reported, “the Celtics had a chance last summer to trade for Leonard.  Just like this year, they had the best potential package but didn’t end up making a deal with the Spurs”. 

At the time of this potential opportunity to acquire Leonard, the Celtics already had Kyrie Irving who was in a similar position to Leonard.  The Celtics felt confident they could keep Kyrie in Boston, but unsure of the likelihood they could keep both stars in Boston.  “I do know that there is some regret with some people in the Celtics organization about not pulling the trigger on a Kawhi Leonard deal,” Mannix said.  “They could have made a deal for him involving Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart or at least with Brown as the centerpiece.”

The Spurs and Celtics never completed a deal and Leonard moved on to the Toronto Raptors, and they went on to win the NBA Finals that season.  The Celtics have committed to Brown long-term by giving him a four-year $115 million contact.  The former No. 3 overall pick had the commitment from the Celtics and the team has a very talented player they could build the team around with Jayson Tatum.  Brown isn’t a cornerstone of the team, but he is a very important building block for an organization with a lot of upside and the assets to continue to build a consistent winner in the Eastern Conference. 

The overall likelihood that the Celtics would complete a trade of this magnitude is low but not completely out of question.  Ainge has made blockbuster trades in the past acquiring Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Kyrie Irving.  Ainge has it in him to complete a trade for Leonard and if the deal is right he would seeing as they’ve had an infinity for the him in the past.  There are a lot of things that would need to fall the Celtics way in order for a Leonard to the Celtics to happen.  The thought is exciting, but the Celtics seem to have a great nucleus of players who like playing with each other unlike the Irving years in Boston.  But it would be very hard to argue to not want to try and acquire Leonard if he indeed became available. 



Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Would You Want Kawhi Leonard If He Became Available?
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