With the 2018 offseason set to kick into full swing, another major storyline has emerged from San Antonio. All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard reportedly to be traded away from the Spurs, and his preferred destination is believed to be the Los Angeles Lakers.
Of course, just because a player wants to be dealt to a particular team doesn’t mean it will happen. A prime example was seen last summer with Paul George. The Lakers do have young players to offer, though the Spurs may not be interested in a package that includes Lonzo Ball.
The Lakers could include future draft picks as well, but other teams could feasibly put together offers just as good or better. That point will be most important as.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Spurs don’t want to deal Leonard to the Lakers, but would be willing to if it means receiving the best haul, via ESPN L.A. Radio:
“They clearly do not want to do business with the Lakers, but if the Lakers could assemble the best deal, if the Lakers could use their assets to bring in a third team and San Antonio gets the most out of a trade from the Lakers, they would do it. I just do not believe they’re going to take a stance of, ‘We will absolutely not trade him in the Western Conference.’ They’re going to make the best trade they can make if they have to.”
The reasons for the Spurs not wanting to trade with the Lakers are obvious. Most teams trading away a star would prefer to deal him to the opposite conference so they can play against them less.
There is also the belief that the Lakers dealing for Leonard would also help bring in LeBron James and Paul George to create another ‘Superteam.’
The Boston Celtics are the team with the most assets to assemble in a trade package for Leonard that could trump the Lakers’ best offer. And the Philadelphia 76ers can put together a great one as well.
The question is whether either team would put their best assets on the table for Leonard without a guarantee he would re-sign. Needless to say this will be one of the most watched storylines of the summer as acquiring him would be the huge move the Lakers need to get to the next level.
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