Spurs Rumors: Cavaliers called about Kawhi Leonard trade
By Rob Wolkenbrod
The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly called the San Antonio Spurs about a Kawhi Leonard trade.
As the draft and free agency near, the San Antonio Spurs have their Kawhi Leonard-sized problem to deal with, after the former NBA MVP candidate reportedly desired a trade from the organization. The timetable of a potential deal is unknown.
For teams who have called the Spurs about Leonard, the first one is the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. It was not mentioned if the Cavs presented an offer.
Cleveland appears to be an unlikely suitor for Leonard. It plays off as a fellow superstar to join LeBron James, who has yet to decide on his playing future for the 2018-19 season, with a player option in hand. If he comes back, maybe the two sides pull something off, but the Cavs’ salary-cap situation makes it unlikely.
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Even if James departs, Cleveland will remain over the cap. That’s due to double-figure salaries from Kevin Love, Tristian Thompson, JR Smith, George Hill and Jordan Clarkson, all of whom are under contract for 2018-19. Clarkson and Thompson also have guaranteed deals for 2019-20.
Unless the Cleveland front office gets creative in an offer for Leonard, which must include the No. 8 overall pick, it’s a difficult task to pull off. There are no other headline-worthy young pieces to add to the deal, aside from Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic, neither of whom will be leading parts of a package.
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If anything, there’s a better chance at James and Leonard teaming up elsewhere to play, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, the apparent leader in the clubhouse. Leonard is also from the Southern California area. Whether these teams work towards a transaction in the imminent future is unknown, but there’s a better chance for them than the Cavaliers based on assets.