We may see a Lakers vs Celtics matchup for Kawhi Leonard.
News came out on Friday that Kawhi Leonard no longer wants to be in San Antonio, the team he prefers is the Los Angeles Lakers. If the Lakers can acquire Leonard before the start of free agency, they may be the favorites to land LeBron James. However, Leonard can stay in San Antonio and accept a max contract worth $219 million and has yet to meet with Gregg Popovich as he has grown frustrated with how the Spurs have handled his quad injury. While Los Angeles is preferred is destination as Leonard himself grew up in California, one team tried to trade for him back in February and that team was the Boston Celtics.
The Spurs rejected the offer but now if the Spurs are going to trade for Leonard and the Lakers wind up calling, you will see the Celtics throwing themselves in the mix. This is not a NBA finals rivalry between the two franchises that you’re seeing but buckle up because the Lakers and the Celtics are to battle It out to acquire the two time defensive player of the year and the 2014 NBA finals MVP.
The Lakers are willing to offer young talent such as Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, possibly Josh Hart, and future draft picks. While acquiring the young talent and future draft picks sound good, the Lakers are stuck with Loul Deng, who is owed $36 million for the next two seasons, the Lakers will add Loul Deng to the mix in order to free up more cap money to sign two max free agents but problem is that head coach Greg Popovich who is also the team’s president, does not want to trade away his star player for another player that is not a star that is worth 36 million for the next two season’s, no disrespect to Loul Deng but Popovich does not want to trade Leonard to a team that the Spurs have had a long rivalry with.
That’s where the Celtics come to play, the Celtics have much better to offer than the Lakers. Young talent such as Jaylen Brown, Tony Rozier, Marcus Smart, future draft picks, and Gordan Hayward if they have to but the Celtics should not give up Jason Tatum, plus the Spurs won’t have to be stuck with Loul Deng. The only thing risky for Boston is that Leonard is set to be an unrestricted free agent next summer and if Leonard chooses to not sign an extension with them, the Celtics could lose him next summer and get nothing back.
Both franchises are trying to win more championships and for years have not been title contenders, both teams have not been in the finals since 2010 when they both faced off in a seven game series in which the Lakers won. In 2007 we saw, multiple races with teams trying to trade for Kevin Garnett, the Lakers were one of them but the Celtics were able to land Garnett. But when It comes to Kawhi Leonard, both the Lakers and Celtics will fight to whoever can acquire him. Magic Johnson does not want to lose out in Leonard to the Celtics and Danny Ainge does not want to lose out in Leonard to the Lakers, the only one that can decide the winner will be none other than Gregg Popovich.