Is Kawhi Leonard a fantastic talent? Of course. However, not every great talent is a great fit for the Boston Celtics.
With the Boston Celtics season now at a lost, with Kyrie Irving revealing that he is out for the season with a knee injury, C’s fans are beginning to ponder about what the team could do in the summer of 2018.
Recently, reports have surfaced that Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs haven’t been on good terms, and there is a good chance that Spurs coach Greg Popovich will attempt to move him around the time of the NBA Draft.
The soft-spoken NBA superstar has only played in 9 games in the 2017 season, due to a severe quad injury caused by a reckless Zaza Pachulia in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals last May. Since that point, there has been this very odd, secretive vibe regarding Kawhi Leonard’s injury.
Popovich has kept the injury under wraps, at the same time creating this undertone that Kawhi was doing something to bother him. Since the great Tim Duncan’s departure, people thought that Kawhi would be the new golden boy in San Antonio. However since that aforementioned injury in May, there has been this severe rift in the Spurs organization regarding the talented forward.
Spurs guard Tony Parker came out a few weeks ago and said that his injury which was very similar to Kawhi’s was “100 times worst”, insinuating that Kawhi Leonard was being overdramatic about the extent of his injury.
Stephen Jackson, a former Spur, exclaimed that Parker would never say such a thing, without permission or influence from Pop. Jackson said that Parker “didn’t have the balls” to call out Kawhi like that and that Pop clearly wanted to relay a message to Leonard via Parker.
Over exaggerating his injury or not, there is still something that rubs Pop (a top 5 coach of all time) the wrong way about the Spurs. Whether it’s major or not, it’s still something that raises a red flag.
However, what if it’s nothing? What if it’s just a personality clash? Well, there are still reasons on why the Celtics shouldn’t acquire Kawhi Leonard.
The Expense of acquiring Kawhi Leonard
Of course, acquiring a two-time First Team All-Pro wouldn’t cheap. However, that is exactly why the Celtics shouldn’t get him. A hypothetical Kawhi Leonard trade would involve Jayson Tatum along with a multitude of draft picks. Sports Illustrated journalists Ben Golliver and Andrew Sharp recently reported that the only way the Celtics would move on from Tatum was if they traded him for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
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The Spurs assumably would want Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier if Tatum was not available. However, it would be hard to imagine the Boston Celtics trading away two of their most promising young stars who they’ve invested lots of time and effort in for Kawhi.
Yes, acquiring a superstar requires lots of recourses, but with such a young nucleus a move like this could ruin the team.
The Fit Issue
Kawhi Leonard, although an incredible defender, does not fit whatsoever in the Celtics offense.
Although there are lots of isolation play from Kyrie Irving late in close games, the Celtics tend to show great ball movement like the Spurs of old. However, Kawhi is super reliant on isolation ball and is not good at playing off the ball like Kyrie and Hayward are.
Kawhi is also not a fantastic passer and the media has criticized him for slowing down the Spurs offense at times throughout his career. He showed in San Antonio that he was not one for involving teammates in the offense, especially Spurs PF LaMarcus Aldridge.
In Boston, it would only be worst, as he would have to share the ball with Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
Leonard is a phenomenal player. He could easily be looked at as a top 10 NBA player. However, due to his strange behavior at times and lack of off-ball offense, I don’t think he should be a trade target for the Boston Celtics this offseason.