Why the Celtics shouldn’t even think about trading for Kawhi Leonard

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Rumors have been floating around (maybe not credible ones, but still) in recent days about a Kawhi Leonard trade to Boston.

Yes, Kawhi is one of the league’s best players, even after the bizarre injury situation that plagued him this year, but unless San Antonio is shipping him up to Boston for 35 cents on the dollar, a trade to the C’s doesn’t really make sense.

It would likely take giving up Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown in order to land Leonard, and the C’s would be smart to do neither.

Even if Kawhi is healthy going forward–a legitimate concern given the pain in his quad has not dissipated, Tatum looks like he’s got a great chance to become one of the best 2-guards in the league in a few short years.

Why would you give up one of the most talented young 2’s in the league for an injury-ridden one? You wouldn’t. (Getty Images Embed/Denver Post Aaron Ontiveroz)

The 20-year-old has an arresting, polished game, with grown-man moves you wouldn’t expect a rookie to have mastered already. He also finished eighth in the league in three-point percentage (.434), which is again, crazy for a dude who can’t even buy a Sam Adams at The Fours yet.

Tatum has been back-breaking against the Sixers, averaging 22.6 points on 50.4 percent shooting, and has a plus-minus of 16.5.

It’s not hyperbole to say that he could be every bit as good as Kawhi (offensively anyway), a perennial All-Star, without the injury history and /or baggage.

Trading Jaylen Brown doesn’t make sense either, if only because you’d be giving up a future All-Star 3/4 to add another 2 to an already-crowded backcourt.

Of course a backcourt of Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Gordon Hayward would allow the Celtics to compete immediately for championships, but it would also push the window in which to do so forward another two or three years.

Instead of being a team that has a chance to hang banners for the next decade or so, the C’s would move further into win-now mode, and unnecessarily–they’ve already got the best roster in the Eastern Conference.

Danny Ainge has proven an ability to be fluid, to change plans on the go, and to turn assets into big-name prizes. But in this case, he’d be wise to take the long view.

Which, of course, was probably his plan, anyway.


Also see: Trading Blake Griffin was the wrong move for the Clippers

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