Four thoughts on the Kawhi Leonard trade request and the Celtics’ potential pursuit

USA Today Sports

Any attempts to mend fences between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs this week have been unsuccessful, as multiple reports indicate the All-Star forward is requesting a trade out of San Antonio. His preference is reportedly to land with the Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com, but the Celtics also are expected to inquire about his availability, just as they did at the trade deadline.

Leonard only played nine games last season as he battled a quad injury that sidelined him throughout the regular season. Reports of a fractured relationship with the Spurs emerged as early as last January and only intensified as the weeks wore on during the regular season. Wojnarowski reported that Leonard and Gregg Popovich were planning on a sitdown this week and it is unclear if that took place. It's not even certain whether Leonard has notified the team of his trade request yet.

Leonard has one guaranteed year left on his current contract at $20.1 million and a player option in the summer of 2019 that he is sure to opt out of in order to secure a much higher annual salary (30 percent of the salary cap) in the summer of 2019. Here are a few thoughts on these developments and how Leonard's availability may or may not impact Boston's plans for this summer and beyond: