Kawhi Leonard wants out of the San Antonio Spurs, but the Los Angeles Lakers remain atop his trade destinations.
Kawhi Leonard reportedly stated his desire for a trade from the San Antonio Spurs, a situation that will become one of the NBA offseason’s most discussed topics. He missed all but nine games this past season due to a right quadriceps injury, which became the focal point of the issues.
As for where Leonard wants to go, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s the Los Angeles Lakers; it’s “at the center of his preferences.” The 26-year-old superstar is from the Southern California area.
San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard has Los Angeles — preferably the Lakers — at the center of his preferences for a trade destination, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 15, 2018
The Lakers were at the center of speculation once the 2017-18 season ended, but this confirms Leonard’s wishes to go home and play for one of the winningest franchises of the past six decades.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne questioned where Leonard would want to re-sign, as it could make the market small for him this offseason. So, that potentially leaves the Lakers in a prime spot, pending they are at the top spot.
Here’s a BIG issue with any Kawhi trade. Where would he be willing to re-sign? Market gets much smaller if he doesn’t show a willingness to re-sign as teams won’t give up premium assets for a one-year rental coming off injury.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 15, 2018
What can the Lakers give? Well, it starts with their young pieces that joined the roster over the past two years: Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. Julius Randle, who can hit restricted free agency this offseason, has the chance to be part of a deal, as well.
Then, it depends on how much the Lakers willingly give up to get Leonard. Sure, they might not want to mortgage the pieces in place for someone that could just sign with them in 2019, but to prevent anyone else from trading for the 2014 NBA Finals MVP and giving him a new deal, at least one of Kuzma, Ingram or Ball could need to go to San Antonio. Other players and draft picks remain to be seen.
Attention will turn towards the possible suitors for Leonard this offseason, whether it’s the Lakers, the New York Knicks or someone else. It should make for an interesting ride this summer in a chaotic offseason.