The Boston Celtics have been adamant about not wanting to move young talent for Kawhi Leonard, but they may be willing to move Kyrie Irving in a deal with the San Antonio Spurs.
The San Antonio Spurs appear to be done trying to mend fences with superstar Kawhi Leonard and are more engaged with trade discussions than they’ve been over the last few weeks. Most notably, the Silver and Black are enamored with the bevy of assets the Boston Celtics have at their disposal.
While the Celtics reportedly reached out to the Spurs about Leonard prior to the trade deadline last season, conversations between the two sides as of late have been stagnant. Boston is reluctant to surrender pieces from their young core that exceeded expectations with Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving sidelined with injuries.
“San Antonio has informed teams its preferred target in any Leonard trade is the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, sources say. Teams have noted this is likely a negotiating tactic, and it’s widely believed in league circles Boston is more likely to propose a deal centered around Kyrie Irving and future picks. But based on previous behavior, the Celtics are unlikely to overpay for Leonard.”
This would be an extremely intriguing and risky proposition for the Spurs. Last summer Irving was vocal about his desire to play in San Antonio, naming them as one of the four teams that he wanted to be traded to after his relationship with LeBron James deteriorated. Irving even went so far as to say he would consider signing an extension with the Spurs if he got traded there.
While this desire may have been contingent upon being able to play alongside Leonard, the attraction between both parties was there. It was later reported in January that the Spurs “tried really, really hard to get him.”
Irving would be an exciting piece to add to this Spurs roster but, like Leonard, Irving has his fair share of injury concerns that San Antonio should be cautious about. Further, Irving will be a free agent next summer. Although he expressed an interest in signing an extension with the Spurs a summer ago, it’s impossible to predict what Irving will do, as he has also mentioned the idea of joining the New York Knicks in 2019.
Is it possible that the Spurs and Irving get their wish of a potential union?
While the Los Angeles Lakers are Leonard’s desired destination, he has not ruled out the possibility of signing off on a trade to another major market team such as Boston, Philadelphia or New York. Leonard has not given any indication that he would re-sign with the Celtics next summer but if conversations between San Antonio and Boston continue to heat up over the next few days he could become more amiable to the possibility if it starts morphing into a legitimate reality.
Would an Irving-for-Leonard trade be considered if the Celtics presented it? If offered, the Spurs should give it some lengthy consideration before deciding in either way. However, with the Lakers getting more and more aggressive with their offers and the 76ers preparing trade packages of their own, the Spurs may be able to get greater, more reliable value elsewhere.