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Report: Celtics are “fully engaged” in Kawhi Leonard trade talks

The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers are currently engaged in an old-fashioned arm’s race for Kawhi Leonard.

NBA: Orlando Magic at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the San Antonio Spurs are now “fully engaged” with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics on trade talks surrounding superstar forward and former Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard.

This comes on the heel of a report a few minutes earlier from Marc Stein that the Spurs have moved on from trying to reconcile the relationship between the organization and Leonard.

From the beginning of the Kawhi Leonard situation, various reports have linked the Celtics to the Spurs in trade talks, especially with the long list of assets that Boston still possesses, including Sacramento’s 2019 top-1 protected 1st rounder. Leonard has reportedly made it clear that he wants to be with the Lakers beyond 2019, and that stance has tempered trade packages throughout negotiations.

Wojnarowski added:

Last night, Steve Bulpett reported that the Celtics and the Spurs are still far apart on a deal, particularly since Boston doesn’t want to include either Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum. For any potential deal to go further, it’s likely that the Celtics would need confirmation from Leonard and his camp on the possibility of staying beyond next season. A lot can change overnight, however, and that might be the situation we’re currently looking at. If they get that confirmation, buckle up, because this train could pick up steam quickly.

But maybe it won’t pick up steam. Adam Himmelsbach reported that the Celtics may not be as close as earlier reports today indicated:

This plays into the idea that the Spurs might be orchestrating media reports in order to boost the asking price on the Lakers’ end. By using the Celtics’ war chest of available assets as a part of negotiations, the Spurs can try to rip away as many assets on the Lakers’ end as possible. This would add leverage to a team negotiating from a point of weakness, given Leonard’s public trade request. Adding onto the cold water dump of Celtics news, Mark Murphy added that the Celtics haven’t received any assurances that Leonard wants to come to Boston.

The Lakers are the only team operating with any real urgency as they try to bolster their free agent pitch to LeBron James by acquiring Leonard. James has until Friday night to either opt in or opt out of his player option for next season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

This story is only going to get crazier. Stay tuned as we continue to update.

Update: Gary Washburn is reporting that Jaylen Brown is off the table in any negotiations that occur between the Spurs and the Celtics. For now.

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