NBA teams are reportedly already prepared to call the San Antonio Spurs about Kawhi Leonard.
With all the controversy and drama around Kawhi Leonard, it was only a matter of time before teams wanted to call the San Antonio Spurs about their superstar. Given the reports of a poor relationship, it’s publicly believed there’s a problem between the player and organization, so it’s hard to fault anyone that would want Leonard, especially with this reputation as one of the NBA’s top two-way players.
According to RealGM, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on Monday’s Outside the Lines that teams will inquire about Leonard’s availability. ESPN’s Zach Lowe followed, with mention that there’s hope of “action around the draft.”
“I have already talked to several NBA general managers,” said Brian Windhorst on Outside the Lines on Monday. “At the end of this season, teams will call the Spurs and inquire about the availability of Kawhi Leonard.”
Not that Windy needs any confirmation, ever, but this is 100% true. Vultures are circling, in hopes of action around the draft. https://t.co/Osp4WLofgv
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) April 3, 2018
The draft created big-name trades as recently as 2017, with Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for a package that included a first-round pick (became Lauri Markkanen). The defunct Seattle SuperSonics once traded Ray Allen to the Boston Celtics on draft day, too, so there’s precedent for superstar activity on one of the league’s most active days.
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A potential deal on draft day lets teams tempt potential trade partners with imminent draft selections, with the ability to get young assets now, rather than waiting for the 2019 NBA Draft. The Chicago Bulls were given this in 2017, and more teams will likely follow suit.
In 2011, the Spurs acquired Leonard in a draft-day trade for George Hill. Seven years later, it would come full circle, pending the organization’s thoughts on the Klaw’s future in the Alamo City and if he wants to stay.
Who would be a potential trade partner? Any team that’s willing to pay Leonard a $200 million contract extension obviously factors in, or one that wants to go all-in on the 2018-19 season and risk losing him in 2019 free agency.
All of this, however, depends on the Spurs’ willingness to move their franchise cornerstone. Will they move him this offseason?