One of the more odd and intriguing stories in the NBA is the ongoing drama between Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs. Leonard played in just nine games this season due to a quadriceps injury and despite being cleared by Spurs doctors, Leonard preferred to go through his own medical team.
Further adding to the speculation of fractured relationship was the fact that he wasn’t even on the sideline during the Spurs’ playoff series against the Golden State Warriors. There is obviously some sort of rift between the two sides and with Leonard able to opt out of his contract next summer, the idea of the Spurs trading him beforehand seems like a possibility.
The Spurs themselves aren’t at that point yet, however. Adrian Wojnarowski spoke on ESPN’s “NBA Draft: On The Clock” special and explained head coach Gregg Popovich is expected to sit down with Leonard to try and repair the relationship ahead of the draft:
“Gregg Popovich is going to sit down with Kawhi sometime between now and the Draft, and they’re going to start to see if they can repair the trust between he and the organization. And I think Kawhi at some point has got to start to rebuild the relationship with a lot of his teammates. There’s a lot of work to be done.”
Wojnarowski added that there are a lot of teams interested if the Spurs do want to trade Leonard, but those talks are not being entertained by San Antonio:
“San Antonio has got to decide if they want to offer him that five-year, $219 million supermax contract. No one else can pay him that much. If San Antonio is not willing to do that without watching play another season, seeing him play more than nine games, well then Leonard may have a decision about whether he wants to play another year there. So there’s a lot of questions between now and the Draft. A lot of teams would love to get involved in trade talks with San Antonio. Those are not being entertained yet by the Spurs.”
The Los Angeles Lakers likely are one of those teams that would look to get involved with any trade scenario. Leonard’s recent appearance at a Los Angeles Dodgers game only served to further the whispers about him leaving for Los Angeles.
Of course any deal for Leonard, a former two-time Defensive Player of the Year, NBA Finals MVP, and two-time All-NBA First Team selection, would cost the Lakers heavily in assets and multiple members of their young core.
If things get to that point, the front office will have a big decision to make as to who they would be willing to give up.
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