The Los Angeles Clippers will reportedly make a trade offer for Kawhi Leonard if the San Antonio Spurs make him available this summer.
After Saturday’s playoff-opening loss to the Golden State Warriors, the clock ticked towards the San Antonio Spurs’ start of the 2018 offseason. It could be one of the most drastic ones in franchise history if Kawhi Leonard gets traded, as multiple teams want to make an offer. Might one of those organizations emerge soon, though?
According to Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, the Los Angeles Clippers will monitor Leonard’s status this offseason and make an offer if the Spurs put him on the trade block.
Why the Clippers? Leonard grew up in Moreno Valley, outside of Los Angeles, as Amick noted. This situation could tempt him, especially with an expiring contract next summer that can present a long-term home.
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Finding an acceptable trade package for Leonard will be interesting. The Spurs may lose leverage if a demand from this superstar player, or his “camp,” goes public. If that’s the potential threat, will the organization quietly push towards a deal?
For the Clippers, they have two 2018 first-round picks to offer. Pieces like Tobias Harris or Danilo Gallinari could arrive in a potential transaction, to offset the $20 million Leonard is owed for 2018-19. Young players like Sindarius Thornwell and Sam Dekker may tempt San Antonio’s interest, too. There’s also Avery Bradley, who drew interest at the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline, but will see his contract expire once the league’s New Year starts on July 1. If there’s mutual interest between Bradley and the Spurs, would a sign-and-trade work into this deal?
Leonard’s situation, without games to take over the forefront of the NBA, could be the top storyline of the 2018 offseason. It’s unusual to pair the Spurs with this offseason controversy, something not seen since Tim Duncan almost went to the Orlando Magic in 2000. The LaMarcus Aldridge trade demand was the next-closest thing but settled itself. Will this be the same?