Right now, the San Antonio Spurs are trying to trade Kawhi Leonard. The issue is which team is willing to pony up for a player who is coming off an injury and might be a one-year rental.
The Boston Celtics have been mentioned as a potential option for Leonard. The Celtics are already the favorite in the East for next year, and adding Leonard to the mix will only bolster the roster.
The question is, is Boston willing to use some of its ample collection of assets to acquire Leonard if there's a chance he bolts in free agency next summer? Right now, they seem to be moving cautiously.
In his newest piece for ESPN, Zach Lowe confirms the team is holding budding star Jaylen Brown out of any trade conversations right now. That's not a surprise.
What is noteworthy is Boston might not be inclined to part with any of its other premier trade chips, according to Lowe.
Boston hasn't included Jaylen Brown, sources say. As I wrote here, it might make more sense to offer Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward before Brown, but I don't see either happening. Boston is confident it can re-sign Irving despite chatter -- credible chatter -- that Irving and Jimmy Butler would like to play together, per league sources. They've earned such confidence.
Boston rarely cares about optics, but it must know how it would look to trade Hayward -- star free-agent acquisition, longtime Brad Stevens favorite -- coming off a traumatic leg injury.
As we've said before, the Spurs don't have to deal Leonard at the moment. They could likely wait until training camp before doing so.
That leaves time for Boston or any other team to up its ante for the 27-year-old star.