“League sources” reportedly said the Spurs turned Danny Ainge’s offer down, and never made a counterproposal. According to Wojnarowski, the Spurs weren’t interested in trading Leonard at the deadline, despite injury concerns and widely reported inner turmoil involving the two-time All-NBA forward and 2014 NBA Finals MVP.
Wojnarowski added that the Celtics may have even changed their minds in the months since the trade deadline, as moving forward with their young, cheap core led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown looks like a more attractive situation than being in a position to have to offer max contracts to keep both Leonard and Kyrie Irving.
“Woj” also says that trading for Leonard now at a discount, which is likely what Ainge tried to do at the deadline, is a “far less likely scenario” at this point than building around the young players they already have.
The Celtics still boast an impressive cache of young talent, plus the Kings’ No. 1-protected 2019 first-round pick as well as future first-rounders from the Grizzlies (2019, top-8 protected) and Clippers (2019, lottery-protected). If those picks fall within the protected range, they would be pushed back to 2020 or 2021.
Felger & Mazz producer James Stewart tweeted back in May that the Spurs offered Leonard themselves to an Eastern Conference team that wasn’t the Celtics, and said team laughed at them. So perhaps they were interested in trading Leonard, if it were on their own terms.
Not the lead story but I woke up to a text from the underground:— James Stewart (@IAmJamesStewart) May 10, 2018
The Spurs offered Kawhi Leonard to an Eastern Conference team (Not the Celtics) for another star and a 1st round pick and said Eastern Conference team laughed at them.
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