Just to get to Los Angeles, embattled San Antonio Spurs star, Kawhi Leonard, is reportedly willing to sit out the 2018-19 season.
Kawhi Leonard missed all but nine games in the 2017-18 NBA season, due to the right quadriceps injury the San Antonio Spurs announced in September. That eventually led to the communication breakdown between the player and franchise and ensued in the offseason discussion of where Leonard will go, specifically Los Angeles.
As of July 2, over 24 hours into the start of free agency, the Spurs have not traded Leonard. However, all signs point towards him wanting the Lakers, who just signed LeBron James to a four-year deal.
Just how desperate is Leonard to get out, though? Via ESPN’s Michele Steele, Stephen A. Smith reported that no one should be shocked if Leonard sits out the 2018-19 season to get to Los Angeles.
Stephen A Smith just reported league executives are telling him don't be shocked if Kawhi Leonard sits out NEXT season as well to get to LA – wowowowow.
— Michele Steele (@ESPNMichele) July 2, 2018
That would be an unprecedented move, to have a player sit out and wait for the next summer’s free-agent period. If so, Leonard would receive a $20 million salary.
Would the Spurs take the risk and let Leonard stay on the team? Given the rumors that have floated around since the draft, all signs point towards this situation as permanently fractured. That’s a tricky area to maneuver, so the Silver and Black might be better off finding a trade package before the season starts.
If Leonard will actually sit out the season, though, it takes some leverage away from San Antonio. It can still send him elsewhere, but would a non-Los Angeles team take the chance and give up their future? As Yahoo’s Jordan Schultz reported, the Spurs asked for two players and three first-round picks from the Sixers.
In exchange for Kawhi Leonard, the #Spurs asked the #76ers for three future first-round draft choices and two current players, per a source familiar with the negotiations. Source would not comment yet on which current players SA asked for. https://t.co/t7X5AIIiR6
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 1, 2018
The Leonard saga is far from over it seems, and will continue into the first week of July. Is it Los Angeles or bust?