BOSTON -- The Kawhi Leonard-to-Boston talk continues to gain steam following a report the Celtics are among a handful of teams that have already made formal offers to the Spurs for Leonard.
While no details of what was offered were in the report, an offer from the Celts would surely include at least one of their young wings, Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum.
Considering where both players are in their development, Boston would be more inclined to include Brown than Tatum, who just finished third in Rookie of the Year voting.
The impact of Leonard on the Celtics will hinge heavily on the cost. Including Kyrie Irving in the trade would elevate Terry Rozier to the starting point guard position, a role he has shown he’s capable of handling. The pressure to play as well as Irving would not be there, not with a supporting cast around him that consists of Leonard, Tatum, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford.
That's a championship-caliber starting five.
But the Celtics will have plenty of competition in acquiring Leonard, including his current team.
San Antonio has said its preference is to keep Leonard in the fold and work through whatever differences that came to light this past season. But Leonard appears locked on playing elsewhere next season and becoming a free agent the following summer. He’s rumored to want to play for the Lakers
The Lakers were in a similar spot last offseason with Paul George, who wanted to join them before Indiana ultimately traded him to Oklahoma City. George had a strong season with the Thunder playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony. The Lakers didn’t make a strong pitch for George, assuming he would play out the one year in Oklahoma City and sign with them this summer.
It’s clear the Lakers are high on George’s list, but he’s also giving serious thought to the Thunder as well.
Regardless of what George does, the Celtics are once again in the mix for one of the top players in the NBA in Kawhi Leonard. And unlike past seasons, when the best trade chip the Celtics could offer was potential in the form of high draft picks, they can now offer young, proven talent with superstar potential still on their rookie contracts -- a luxury few teams in the NBA have at their disposal.
Brown showed tremendous growth and promise in his second NBA season and was a factor in Boston advancing to the Eastern Conference finals this past season. But a chance to acquire Leonard has to be explored thoroughly.
And if in that time the issues that created the divide between Leonard and the Spurs were isolated and the cost of acquiring him is Irving and Brown, the Celtics have to seriously consider pulling the trigger on such a deal. It would catapult them from a title contender to the squad that’s poised, better than any other, to knock off the two-time reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors and bring Banner 18 back to Boston.