The Celtics figure to be one the primary suitors for Kawhi Leonard if the Spurs make him available this summer, but it won’t be easy for Boston to determine what sort of pieces to offer, writes Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. Currently, the Celtics’ roster combines veterans like Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, and Kyrie Irving with young, up-and-coming stars like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, potentially opening up a very long window of title contention for the franchise.
While most pundits would argue that surrendering Brown and multiple first-rounders in a deal for Leonard is a no-brainer, such a deal “tilts Boston more toward the present,” Lowe writes. Lowe also explores whether Brown has the upside to become a Leonard-type player in the long run, arguing that the Celtics would have reason to be wary of giving up 2016’s third overall pick — especially without any long-term assurances from Kawhi.
Meanwhile, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News explores the Leonard situation and notes that the Spurs have heard from multiple “serious suitors,” including the Celtics, Cavaliers, and Sixers. However, executives who spoke to Deveney don’t anticipate a Kawhi deal being made before or during the draft.
Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:
- The Heat will be over the cap this summer, but can still be involved in free agency. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald examines the scenarios in which Miami could afford to add a free agent or two, and identifies a few potential targets for the club.
- Texas Tech wing Zhaire Smith said today that the Sixers wanted to work out him for a second time in order to take a closer look at his shooting and ball-handling development, tweets Jake Fischer of SI.com. The No. 10 pick may be a little high for Smith, who may not last until Philadelphia’s next pick at No. 26, but the club has explored trade options, so he shouldn’t be ruled out as a potential target.
- Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer lays out the case for why the Hornets were eager to get rid of veteran center Dwight Howard. Charlotte is reportedly finalizing a trade with Brooklyn that will send Howard to the Nets.
- The Nets worked out a large number of early entrant prospects who ultimately ended up withdrawing from the draft and going back to school. Net Income of NetsDaily explains how those auditions could pay off for the team in the long run.