The Celtics’ offer for Kawhi Leonard was based around picks, not players.
Boston, which owns a treasure trove of picks — including a potential top-three pick from Sacramento in 2019 — put up some of its best assets, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
“[As] all the reporting from this sort of trickled in, I think the Celtics offered most of their best draft picks,” Lowe said on his podcast. “I don’t think the Celtics just offered, ‘You could have a bunch of our picks.’ I think some of the picks they own — at least two of the picks, if not all of them — that they own from other teams, including the Kings, Grizzlies and Clippers, I think those were all in the deal.”
The Grizzlies’ pick — top-eight protected in 2019, top-six protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021 — is also one of the more valuable assets in the league. But the Spurs aren’t looking to rebuild. They want to stay competitive, instead looking to land a marquee player, which they eventually did in DeMar DeRozan.
Gregg Popovich is 69 years old, which no doubt factored into the decision. No point in tearing down if you won’t be around to see the results.
That seems to have been the Spurs’ credo in the Leonard deal. Whether it works out in the end remains to be seen.