Danny Ainge has made several terrific moves over the last few offseasons, but the Boston Celtics might not be able to land Kawhi Leonard.
While he cannot directly comment on Leonard due to tampering rules, Ainge seemingly referenced the San Antonio Spurs star when responding to a question about possible trades. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe provided Ainge’s answer.
Ainge on pursuing trades despite loaded roster: “We explore every trade of players of certain magnitude, superstar, first ballot Hall of Fame type of players. We’re gonna take a look, kick the tires and see if there’s something there. I think those things are unlikely.” #Celtics
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) June 29, 2018
Looking at the current class of free agents in addition to Leonard, Ainge’s definition also fits LeBron James, Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins.
However, the Celtics haven’t been connected to George or Cousins. Yes, they’ll “kick the tires” and contact LeBron, but it’s more likely the unrestricted free agent is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers or returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
So that leaves Kawhi, who reportedly wants out of San Antonio. Unless Boston parts with Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward, though, it would absolutely need to include Jaylen Brown as part of a trade.
Leonard, without question, is a better player than Brown. Still, the young wing also has a hugely team-friendly contract. Given the admirable state of the roster, the Celtics don’t have an absolute need to chase Leonard.
But Ainge and Co. will still explore the possibility, as they should.