Celtics likely willing to trade Kyrie Irving for Kawhi Leonard
The Kyrie Irving era in Beantown might only be comprised of one ephemeral season. That’s not as unlikely to happen as what most people believe if the Boston Celtics truly want to bring in to their fold embattled San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard.
According to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated, while the Spurs have made it known that they are eyeing Jayson Tatum as part of a Boston package in exchange for Leonard, the Celtics prefer a transaction in which Kyrie Irving is the main component of their offer.
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.
If Leonard is going to be a Celtic any time soon, Boston and San Antonio will have to find a middle ground to agree on.
Nevertheless, the idea of Danny Ainge flipping another superstar for another superstar for the second year in a row is something that not many people foresaw at least for a few months back. Then again, opportunities in the NBA don’t always come with a prior notice.
Last season, Irving led the Celtics with 24.4 points and 5.1 assists per game, but he was only able to appear in 60 contests with a knee surgery late in the regular season costing him the back end of the 2017-18 campaign.
Although the Los Angeles Lakers are also in pursuit of Kawhi Leonard, the Celtics are in a better position and a richer collection of assets to entice the Spurs into giving up the former NBA Finals MVP.