Kawhi Leonard Trade: 5 Potential Trades Options For Spurs
This ride keeps getting crazier and crazier. Am I right?
This week news surfaced that the San Antonio Spurs are worried that Kawhi Leonard and his camp might want a trade to a team in a bigger market.
Good thing for San Antonio they have Leonard under contract for another year. However, this offseason might be their best opportunity to get the best offer and most for him.
Due to this, let's look at five potential trades the Spurs could make this offseason involving Kawhi Leonard.
1. All of the markets in this article are Top 5. This is important because the rumors are Leonard wants to go to a bigger market.
2. These trades are ranked from my "least likely to happen" to my "most likely to happen".
3. All of the trades include players currently under contract by interested teams. I discuss some sign-and-trades but excluded them from deals because we don't know what contracts would be.
4. I put myself in the shoes of the GM's. These are trades that could realistically work. These are not 2K Dream Trades.
With that being said, let's dive into the trades!
Lakers: Kawhi Leonard
Spurs: Luol Deng, Josh Hart, 2018 1st Round (25)
The biggest and most popular team people think of are the Los Angeles Lakers. SHOWTIME! If this was free agency, the Lakers would be at the top of my list. However, the Lakers may not have the pieces to make a trade work financially or in terms of Spurs interest.
I think it's safe to say the four untouchables for the Lakers are: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Julius Randle. Personally, I'd put Randle in the untouchable camp, but it can be argued. Let's say he is for the sake of argument.
As of right now, there's only one player with the salary needed to come close to matching Kawhi's and that Luol Deng.
Deng was consistently inactive this year and only played in one game (season opener) this season. He's also not a player who could entice the Spurs to make a trade even with a young player like Josh Hart and a late 1st rounder in this year's draft.
Other options are sign-and-trades involving Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Brook Lopez. Caldwell-Pope would be interesting because he's still young and his defensive ability could peak interest from San Antonio.
Knicks: Kawhi Leonard
Spurs: Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, 2018 1st Round (9)
We can't talk big markets without mentioning New York, right? Just like LA though, the Knicks most likely do not have any major firepower to get a Kawhi Leonard trade done.
Financially, a trade would most likely need to be structured around either Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, Enes Kanter, or Joakim Noah.
Kanter and Noah are out because Noah will most likely get cut and the Spurs wouldn't want another big on their roster.
This leaves the Spurs with deciding between Hardaway Jr. or Lee. Both players would be under contract for the next two seasons. This detail is why the Spurs would choose Hardaway Jr. over Lee because he's the younger of the two.
Trey Burke would give the Spurs an option at backup point guard (or rotation PG) depending on what happens with Tony Parker this summer. They could also be in line to grab a small forward like Mikal Bridges, Miles Bridges, or Kevin Knox with the Knicks 9th overall pick.
This might make the needle jump a little, but still wouldn't be enough to get Kawhi Leonard in the Big Apple.
76ers: Kawhi Leonard
Spurs: Robert Covington, 2018 1st Round (10), 2018 1st Round (26)
Now we start getting into the three deals that have the best chance of happening. The Sixers would be interesting in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes because Philly is also in the LeBron James rumors as well.
When it comes to younger teams like the Sixers, they don't have many contacts in double figures. The only two players in that category are Joel Embiid (cue laugh track if you think he'll be traded) and Robert Covington.
Covington is interesting because he just signed a four-year extension back in November. Does this mean the Sixers wouldn't trade him for Kawhi Leonard? (If you aren't laughing right now, you're crazy.)
For the Spurs, it'd depend on if they'd want an established player like T.J. McConnell or the Sixers second 1st round pick. Personally, I think the pick would help out the Spurs more. They'd be able to draft a player and control his contract for more years.
Plus, it gives them the option to package the 18th and 26th to move up in the draft if they'd like.
The trade waters are definitely warmer at this part of our list. If they don't land LeBron, this trade would make Philly a formidable foe against a LeBron-led Cavs team in the East side of the playoffs.
Bulls: Kawhi Leonard
Spurs: Justin Holiday, Denzel Valentine, Cristiano Felicio, 2018 1st Round (6)
I know what you all are saying. "THERE'S NO WAY KAWHI GETS TRADED TO THE BULLS!" Just hear me out.
The Bulls have two things that nobody on this list has: 1) young players and 2) the chance to draft a franchise player in 2018.
The true prize of this trade for San Antonio is the 6th (if not higher) pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Right now at 6, the Spurs would have a chance at either Michael Porter Jr. or Trae Young.
Either one of these players would be a massive addition to the Spurs and would be someone who would bring excitement to the team. I'm leaning more towards Porter being that guy.
Valentine and Felicio would be younger players the Spurs would control for about 2-3 years. Justin Holiday would be a player to add in the backcourt rotation for 2018-19. He's 30 years old and only has one year left on his contract.
Would this trade change the Spurs drastically? No. They'd be the same team with more youth and a potential superstar to replace the one who wanted out.
The major concern for the Bulls is getting out of this trade with the Pelicans picks. If Chicago has to give out two picks for Kawhi Leonard, that price might be a little too high.
Clippers: Kawhi Leonard, 2018 1st Round (18)
Spurs: Tobias Harris, 2018 1st Round (12), 2018 1st Round (13)
It's fitting that our journey through Kawhi Leonard's options ends where it all began. The Lakers might not be able to make a Kawhi Leonard trade work in the end, but the Clippers have some firepower to work with!
No surprise the Clippers are the last team on this list. Right now, everybody is predicting the Clippers to land Kawhi Leonard and why shouldn't they?
Just like the Bulls had something no team could offer thus far, the Clip Show one-upped them! That's because LA can offer the Spurs two lottery picks in this years NBA Draft!
Yes, the Spurs would probably need to give their 18th overall pick up in exchange, but they'd gladly do that to move up 5 spots.
With these picks, the Spurs could draft players like Collin Sexton and Kevin Knox to fill out their lineup.
I'm still unsure if Kawhi Leonard gets traded, but this seems to be the best option for San Antonio to move Kawhi Leonard. The only negative is that they'd be trading him to a fellow Western Conference team...
Well, that does it for my list! Tell me what you think down below. Will Kawhi Leonard get traded? Is there a team not in a major market who could land him? Let me know!