Report: Celtics tried to trade for Kawhi Leonard in February

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, right, drives the lane against Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley during the second half, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 108-101. (Darren Abate/AP)

The NBA’s off-season is shaping up to be a landscape-altering summer that could see plenty of All-NBA talent switching teams via trades or free agency.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Paul, and Paul George are among an eye-popping list of free agents available this summer. Meanwhile, talented players like Kemba Walker, Kevin Love, Hassan Whiteside, and a host of others — including core members of the Toronto Raptors — could be available on the trade market as teams look to reload for next season, or change the course of their franchises in the coming months.

You can also include San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard on the list.

The 26 year-old two-way force is eligible to sign a hefty max contract worth more than $200 million this summer. He’s expected to sign on the dotted line, but a shred of doubt remains regarding his future in San Antonio following a season in which he and the organization clashed several times over the treatment and timeline of a quad injury that limited him to just nine games this season.

Enter: the Boston Celtics. With the tensions between Leonard and the Spurs well-documented, and San Antonio not wanting to risk watching him walk when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2019, Leonard’s name came up in trade rumours that seemed more like fantasy than reality.

But according to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics formally submitted a trade offer to the Spurs for Leonard ahead of the trade deadline in February:

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.

The Celtics are one of the most asset-rich teams in the NBA, boasting a roster stacked with veteran stars, promising young talent, and a boatload of draft picks, including a potential eight first-rounders over the next three drafts.

During the playoffs, an injured Leonard caused a stir when he was not on the sidelines with the team, only to be spotted at a Los Angeles Dodgers game shortly afterwards, fuelling rumours that the relationship between Leonard and the team that drafted him had soured.

When healthy, Leonard is a no-doubt top-five player, and it’s no wonder opportunistic teams like the Celtics are looking to swoop in and nab the former Finals MVP.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers are also reportedly attempting to trade for the Spurs star this summer.

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