With less than one week until the 2018 NBA Draft, most of the league’s attention has been focused on the influx of new talent set to arrive with this season’s rookie class. On Friday afternoon, however, that all changed in a hurry with reporting that Kawhi Leonard is seeking a trade from the San Antonio Spurs.
In the immediate aftermath of that bombshell, the city of Los Angeles (and, specifically, the Lakers) zoomed to the front of the line with regard to potential suitors for Leonard on the trade market. With that said, a player of Leonard’s caliber is almost certain to garner multiple teams with high-end interest and the Boston Celtics are now reportedly listed among them.
It comes as no surprise that Danny Ainge and company would want to get into the mix (especially given previous reported interest) and the Celtics absolutely have the assets to make things interesting for San Antonio. Unlike the Lakers, the Celtics have an array of future draft picks (including selections owed from the Grizzlies and Kings) that would be attractive in any trade and, beyond that, Boston also has quality roster pieces, headlined by Jaylen Brown, that could theoretically become available in a pursuit of an All-NBA player like Leonard.
It should be noted, though, that the Celtics may not want to approach an “all-in” offer unless Leonard commits, in some form, to remaining in Boston long-term and he has only one season left on his contract. If Leonard’s reported desire to land in Los Angeles is, in fact, true, that could influence trade offers elsewhere, including a situation in which teams like Boston hold back their best assets as a safe-guard against a one-year rental scenario.
Between now and the point of any Leonard trade actually occurring, it feels like a safe bet to presume that other teams will be linked to the pursuit. As of Friday afternoon, the Boston Celtics have reportedly joined the fray and absolutely no one is stunned.