Boston Celtics Emerge As Top Destination To Land Kawhi Leonard Due To Gregg Popovich Rule
Last week, the internet was buzzing with the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers might be giving a go at trying to acquire Kawhi Leonard. Even the reports of the Clippers getting a package together surfaced showing they were interested as well.
Unfortunately for both of the franchises, that won’t be happening because of an old Gregg Popovich rule that states he would not trade any player to help a Western Conference team get better.
According to a report by Mark Heisler of The Orange County Register:
“It’s one of Popovich’s cardinal rules not to help Western Conference rivals, much less one with the tradition and resources of the Lakers,” wrote Heisler.
Because of that rule, it opens the door wide open for the Boston Celtics to move in ahead of the Lakers and the Clippers, according to WEEI.com.
“Several contenders – such as the Celtics, 76ers and Cavaliers – have more young players and/or high first-round picks to offer the Spurs.
If the idea is moving Leonard out of the Western Conference, the Celtics might be the likeliest destination. With a potential lottery pick from Sacramento next year and two young stars in Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the Celtics have more young talent to offer than anyone, including the Lakers.”
The San Antonio Spurs coach has never been one to speak publicly about transactions, except for when the Memphis Grizzlies sent current-Spurs player Pau Gasol to the Lakers and set them up nicely to win titles in two of the next three years.
“What they did in Memphis is beyond comprehension,” Popovich said at the time. “…I just wish I had been on a trade committee that oversees NBA trades. I’d like to elect myself to that committee. I would have voted no to the L.A. trade.”
The Spurs still hold all the cards when it comes to where they’ll send Kawhi if they choose to do so. During the 2017-2018 season, the disgruntled star only suited up for nine games following his quad injury from last year’s playoffs against the Golden State Warriors.