The 76ers and Celtics are rising powers, because they’re loaded with good, mostly young, players.
For the same reason, both teams are viable trade partners with the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard.
But apparently neither team is willing to deal those players to San Antonio.
Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz – they’re off limits. Boston’s really got their top five players off limits. Boston’s more willing to do a deal that’s pick-heavy. But the Spurs want good players back. They don’t want to rebuild. They want picks and guys who can help them stay in the playoffs.
The Celtics are more loaded with draft picks – a Kings or 76ers first-rounder next year, a Grizzlies first-rounder and a Clippers first-rounder. But beyond its top five, Boston’s players aren’t exactly alluring.
Not that the Celtics should include any of those top five. Leonard reportedly isn’t that interested in Boston – a big deal because he can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Perhaps, Philadelphia should dangle Fultz. Leonard might be more interested in staying there.
But his injury presents a big risk for any team that has him. Even a reliable pledge to re-sign would leave major questions.
Really, this shows how far the Spurs are from trading Leonard. They’re asking for the moon, and other teams refuse to include assets worthy of the superstar. That gap can get bridged quickly, but this is the stalemate typical of early trade talks.