Posted on June 15, 2018, by Travis Pulver
Life hasn’t just been good for fans of the San Antonio Spurs. It’s been great. They were lucky enough to have one great player (Tim Duncan) follow another great (David Robinson). It appeared that the luck was continuing with another great player, Kawhi Leonard. But it appears that their ‘luck’ may be running out.
Kawhi Leonard wants the San Antonio Spurs to trade him.
Whatever the disconnect was over the quad injury that forced to miss most of the 2017-18 season appears to be bad enough that Leonard wants out. He doesn’t care about the money; he doesn’t care that he’ll be missing out on a supermax deal.
Sign up for a FREE Trial Consultation to start working with Legendary Sports Bettor Jon Price
Instead of signing for $219 million over five years. he’ll only be able to sign for $188 million. So, it’s not hard to see why he isn’t concerned about getting a supermax deal. But leaving $41 million on the table? Because you got your feelings hurt?
From what we are hearing in the media so far, that seems to be the driving force behind his desire to leave. Leonard feels betrayed by the Spurs over how his injury was handled, so he doesn’t want to play for them anymore.
According to news reports, Leonard and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was supposed to be meeting up sometime in the near future to iron things back out. But it doesn’t appear that is going to happen anymore.
To make the drama a little bit juicier, at least as of Friday afternoon when the news broke, Leonard had yet to talk to the Spurs. As far as they were concerned, the meeting was supposed to happen. Popovich would work his magic, and everything would be okay.
Instead, the media has taken the news and run with it.
So— what are the Spurs to do? They could tell him tough luck and keep him. He could remain ‘hurt’ for another season and remain a distraction. If they do that, he’ll just leave after next season when he becomes a free agent.
They will trade him; it’s what everyone does in situations like this. It’s better to get something for nothing. Since Leonard is one of the best defenders and a capable scorer, there will be a lot of interest. Rumor has it that the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers, and Philadelphia 76ers are all interested.
Whoever does make a pitch will have to make it a good one. At 26, Leonard is just breaking into his prime. So, the Spurs are not going to let him go for cheap. But the Lakers and each of the teams mentioned as having interest have assets.
It will all come down to how much they are willing to give up.
With a young core that already looks like a contender, it will be interesting to see what the 76ers offer. Boston could come up with a great package as well. But it would be intriguing to see what a defensive-minded coach like Brad Stevens could do with Leonard.
Leonard would give the Lakers a much-needed boost on defense. But can the Lakers still go after LeBron James and Paul George if they acquire Leonard? Do they really want to completely makeover what appeared to be a promising young team?
Of course, the wild card in all of this is Gregg Popovich. LaMarcus Aldridge wanted to be traded last year, but Popovich talked him out of. He also changed his style when it came to coaching Aldridge— and it worked out. Aldridge had a great season last year.
Can Popovich do it again? Or since he’ll get a decent haul for Leonard, will he even bother trying? Fans will have to wait and see.