celticgreenie wrote:Zach Lowe article:
"If there is a team feeling Leonard regret now, it is Boston. The Celtics had the coveted young players and draft picks to outbid Toronto. Boston larded up its offer with draft picks, but declined to include Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown without gaining more assurance than was possible about Leonard's health and interest in re-signing, sources said at the time of the trade.
Boston's fretful waffling was understandable in the moment. Brown appeared on track to be an All-Star. Maybe more important, Boston believed it had a championship team already. They had just taken James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to Game 7 without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Was it worth trading a key piece of what appeared then to be both a championship present and future to rent Leonard and watch him leave?
(It is incredible how much has changed for Boston in the past calendar year -- how many things went wrong, how many carefully laid plans appear in jeopardy.)
Acquiring Leonard also would have left Boston with four max-salary players in Irving, Hayward, Leonard and Al Horford -- untenable for long. Boston was saving its chips for Anthony Davis. Everyone around the league -- including the Raptors -- wondered if Leonard's health would ever allow him to be the player he was in 2017.
In retrospect, Boston was both too cautious and too optimistic about its existing core. (I was, too, by the way. Speaking of thin margins: A lot of us got so wrapped up in Boston pushing Cleveland to seven that we breezed past the fact that a middling Milwaukee team had done the same to the Celtics two rounds earlier.)"
Decent comments by Lowe here but I think he misses one big point.
You trade Brown/filler and a pick for Leonard and you still have a team with an overabundance of small forwards in Leonard, Tatum and Hayward. Hayward was hard to move with his injury. Tatum was hard to move based upon potential.
Is Leonard playing with an injury that needs to be managed happy at PF on full-time basis?
I think Ainge made a mistake in not going in on a Leonard rental if Spurs would have been happy enough with Brown instead of Tatum but I can somewhat understand why he didn't do it.
Now if Ainge thought Irving and post injury Hayward were going to make Celtics championship favorites, he needs to get his head examined. Warriors smashed the Cavs last year and that is 10X more relevant than Celtics making ECFinals in a conference of bad teams.
If Ainge had made no promises to Kyrie Irving. The move he should have explored is Irving plus a pick for Leonard. I doubt Spurs had interest in Irving but maybe trade could have been done with third party if Celtics willing to let go of more than just Irving.