After all of the events this season, it seems inevitable that Kawhi Leonard will be on another NBA team by the start of the 2018-19 season. Not only has the media been reporting on locker room issues throughout the 17-18 season, but now NBA GMs have been quoted on saying that Leonard is as good as gone.
It only makes sense that the Spurs would trade him for something before he’s able to walk away for nothing in Free Agency. Here are the best trade ideas for Leonard:
Boston Receives: Kawhi Leonard
San Antonio Receives: Kyrie Irving
Resultant Boston Depth:
C – Al Horford, Aron Baynes, Greg Monroe
PF – Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis
SF – Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, Guerschon Yabusele
SG – Jaylen Brown, Abdel Nader
PG – Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart
Why Boston does this trade:
Having a front court with three perennial all stars AND Aron Baynes, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Morris – semi-regular starters throughout this season for the 55 win Celtics – would be unprecedented. That’s not including Greg Monroe, a former franchise building block for Detroit and Milwaukee. In the “arms race” that describes the modern NBA and the pursuit for a championship by top teams, Boston would have one of the best frontcourts ever assembled.
In the back court, Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Smart have proven more than capable of holding their own, as their back court players have outdueled the likes of Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, and others. Boston can shore up any additional backcourt depth needs it might have with draft picks, free agent signings, or G League call ups.
Resultant San Antonio Depth:
C – Pau Gasol, Joffrey Lauvergne
SF – Kyle Anderson, Rudy Gay, Bryn Forbes
SG – Danny Green, Patty Mills, Derrick White,
PG – Kyrie Irving, Dejounte Murray, Tony Parker
Why San Antonio does this trade:
Getting a superstar in return for Leonard is the best option if the Spurs don’t want to blow up their core. Getting Kyrie Irving adds a back court star that the Spurs haven’t had since around 2013 when Tony Parker was still near the peak of his career. Irving showed that he can buckle down defensively after being a minute leader on the defensively stout Boston Celtics this season. Playing for Gregg Popovich, Irving will be in a similarly elite system that will be able to complement his isolation style game well.
italics = Unrestricted Free Agent