It’s safe to say that throughout the course of last season, Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs didn’t have the best relationship.
Although Leonard attempted to return from his quad injury two different times, he was never able to fully get back to the place he wanted to be and eventually left San Antonio to work out with his private medical team in New York City.
In the playoffs, the strained relationship took a more serious turn when the Spurs squared off against the Golden State Warriors in the first round. Since Steph Curry was out due to an injury of his own, many viewed it as a perfect opportunity for Leonard to return, make an immediate impact and therefore potentially become the hero that his city needed him to be.
That didn't happen. Although the Spurs were able to win a game without him, the damage had been done.
Although there’s still a possibility that Leonard returns to San Antonio and signs the super-max $219 million extension that he’s eligible for, there’s also a chance that he’s played his last game for the historic franchise.
Now that the 2017-2018 season is over, some more information has come out regarding the relationship.
A declined trade
Although the focus is currently on where Leonard might end up, it’s interesting to now know that one team made an offer for him during this past season.
“The Boston Celtics made a trade offer to San Antonio before the February deadline, but the Spurs turned it down -- and never made a counterproposal, league sources said. San Antonio wasn't willing to discuss deals for Leonard in February. So far this spring, the Spurs remain resistant to trades,” Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on Wednesday.
That was a patented Woj bomb.
The Celtics made it all the way to Game 7 of the NBA Finals and were regarded as one of the most complete and cohesive teams in the entire league throughout the season. Therefore, knowing that Danny Ainge was willing to part with at least one player is extremely surprising.
Assuming that Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Jayson Tatum were all off-limits in terms of a trade, some combination of Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, Aron Baynes or Terry Rozier was most likely involved. No names were mentioned in Wojnarowski's report.
In the end, it worked out for the Celtics, who kept their young core in tact and showed the league what they were made out of during their playoff run. If the Spurs are able to re-sign Leonard or trade him for a king’s ransom, it’ll work out for them too.