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The Continuing Story of Kawhi Leonard

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As the Kawhi Leonard situation drags out, the more mysterious and complicated it seems to become. The line between what is fact and what is posturing via reporters has gradually blurred, making it difficult to determine one from the other. Prime examples of this seem to be coming from the top two NBA reporters in the industry, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

According to Woj, Leonard is still focused on the Lakers as his preferred trade destination, which has been rumored since the first murmurs of his discontent emerged. However, according to Shams, this is not the case, stating on Colin Cowherd’s “The Herd” that “I don’t think Kawhi Leonard is jumping for joy now that LeBron is a Laker. If anything, he’ll be more open to joining the Clippers” (listen to around 26:30). So…who is to be believed?

Personally, I think the truth is somewhere in between.  I think LA is a destination due to his family and his desire to play in a bigger market. However, I don’t believe he wants to feel overshadowed by LeBron James, which is usually the norm with players that join forces with the superstar small forward (ie. Chris Bosh, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving). This also may very well be a leverage attempt by the Spurs, with San Antonio and Leonard’s camp separately using Wojnarowski and Charania to do their bidding.

As is pertains to the other major suitors (Boston and Philadelphia), neither team is putting their top players on the table in any deal, with Boston preferring to dip once more into their treasure chest of picks to make a deal happen instead of trading their top 5 players (assuming this means Irving, Brown, Hayward, Tatum and Horford). The only other way Boston can make a deal come to fruition is by finagling a third team into a deal to provide additional salary or perhaps offering Marcus Smart in a sign and trade with additional assets; their path to another superstar remains complicated and murky due to salary/cap issues.

Philadelphia, after acquiring forward Wilson Chandler from the Denver Nuggets and absorbing him into their cap space, have the financial centerpiece for a Leonard trade (Wilson is owed $12.8 Million for 2018-19, the final year of his current deal). But whether the Spurs would be satisfied with Chandler as a main cog in a deal has remained to be seen. Philly’s reluctance to trade key assets (much like Boston’s case) has chilled talks between them and the Spurs on Leonard.

At this rate, I do believe Leonard will be moved. I don’t believe the Spurs will be happy with whatever they receive in return (from ANY team), but rarely is any team in trading a disgruntled superstar. But the longer this staring contest continues, the more and more leverage slips away from San Antonio’s grasp. Someone is bound to blink soon, and in my opinion, before mid-August at the latest.

Boston Celtics

Celtics’ Terry Rozier Rejected Contract Extension Offer

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Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier rejected a contract extension from the team that would have paid him roughly $12 million annually, according to a report from A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.

Rozier’s decision to decline the contract offer was a decision made by him and his management team.

“I’m in a great situation,” Rozier said, according to NBC Sports Boston. “My team felt it wasn’t good for me to sign an extension right now. It opens my options a little bit, but I’m focused on what’s happening right now.”

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Kyrie Irving Announces Commitment to Celtics Long-Term

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Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving made a lot of fans happy on Thursday night, including the Celtics organization, when news broke that he had met with ownership over the past few months and is committed to the Celtics for the long term, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Irving announced his plans to re-sign with the team during a fan event at the TD Garden on Thursday night.

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Celtics’ Kyrie Irving Re-Affirms Desire to Stay in Boston, Says it’s Not All About the Money

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Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is doubling down on his comments that he wants to remain with the Boston Celtics, saying that at this point in his career, it’s not all about the money as he prepares for free agency next summer.

Irving, who turned down a contract extension this summer, spoke about his decision making process as he enters the final season of his current deal.

“To be in a position to even be considered a franchise free agent is pretty awesome,” Irving said, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. “At this point in my career, it’s not so much about the money, it’s not so much about the extra curricular things, it’s like OK, where am I happy? Where am I most comfortable? Who’s going to give me that [atmosphere] where I would love to grow as a human being? I spent more time with my teammates than I do with my family and you want to be in a place where thinking about starting over again, obviously that’s what the thing you think about.”

Irving then spoke again about his preference to remain in Boston.

“You think, ‘what about a new location?’ and it’s just like I want to be comfortable and what’s better than being in Boston?” Irving asked.

“This year has felt much different because of the environment that has been created for me and by me and going to the new practice facility. There’s nothing like playing at TD Garden. “I didn’t say that to appease you guys. I actually love Boston.”

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