Latest On Kawhi Leonard

The Spurs‘ asking price for Kawhi Leonard remains high, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. In an article packed with Leonard-related tidbits, the ESPN duo suggests that – based on conversations with opposing teams – San Antonio appears to be seeking an All-Star caliber player, high-potential young players, and draft picks in exchange for Kawhi.

It’s not clear if the Spurs will be able to land that sort of return, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, who note that a three-way bidding war involving the Lakers, Celtics, and Sixers never really materialized. The Lakers are being patience and conveying confidence that Leonard will sign with them in 2019. As for the Celtics and Sixers, they’ve held their top players out of trade discussions and have offered pick-heavy packages, which haven’t enticed the Spurs.

Given the Spurs’ reported demands, a Raptors offer built around one of their All-Star guards (likely DeMar DeRozan), one or two of their young players, and draft picks could be the most logical package for San Antonio.

In an appearance on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast, Brian Windhorst said he thinks the Raptors are in the “driver’s seat” in the Leonard sweepstakes, since the Lakers and Sixers haven’t been aggressive in their pursuit of the star forward. Lowe didn’t go so far as to call the Raptors the favorites, but he cautioned not to underestimate the club or to view the rumors linking Leonard to Toronto as mere speculation.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on the NBA’s most noteworthy trade candidate:

  • In addition to the four teams noted above, the Clippers, Nuggets, Suns, Trail Blazers, and Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Leonard, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. However, it’s unlikely that any of those teams has made a monster offer, given concerns that Kawhi would be a one-year rental. Portland hasn’t discussed Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum, for instance, per ESPN.
  • Leonard is “seriously considering” participating in Team USA’s mini-camp next week, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. There’s a sense that the All-Star wants to show the Spurs‘ prospective trade partners that he’s healthy, but there may be a concern within Leonard’s camp that participating in the mini-camp would give San Antonio more leverage to push him to report to camp in the fall.
  • While there have been whispers that Leonard has no intention of showing up at the Spurs‘ facility if he’s not traded, rival teams generally view that as an “empty threat,” since they’re skeptical he’s willing to risk forfeiting his $20MM salary for 2018/19, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne,
  • The Spurs haven’t allowed potential trade partners to talk directly with Leonard or his camp, or to see his medical information, per ESPN’s report. It’s unlikely that stance would change unless the Spurs agree to a trade in principle with a team, Woj and Shelburne add.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders addressed the Leonard situation in his latest article, suggesting that the start of training camp could be a key deadline to keep an eye on. One source close to Leonard also tells Kyler that the forward would ideally like to be the “focal point” of a team going forward. It’s not clear how that alleged desire to be a team’s focal point will impact Leonard’s preference to join the Lakers now that LeBron James is in L.A., Kyler writes.
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26 thoughts on “Latest On Kawhi Leonard

  1. ajetergiftbasket

    I’m not sure if the Spurs will get what they want for Kawhi but they own his rights this season so unless they want to cater to his wishes, they can go in and keep him. If he wants to sit out, I think it hurts his earning potential next season. Maybe they could move him at the deadline to a playoff desperate team?

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    • I give no fox

      I highly doubt his earning potential would be impacted by sitting out. He’s a top 5 player, anyone with cap space will offer him the max. Another serious injury, on the other hand, could give some teams pause

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      • Codeeg

        If he hasn’t played a full season in nearly 2 years? Yea I can definitely see his earning potential diminished from the max.

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    • bennyg

      If he just refuses to play, there is a rule in place stating he has to miss the the following season also. Cannot remember what it’s called, but it has been put in place for this exact reason.
      I’m sure Luke can find the name of the ruling…..

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  2. Toronto trading DeRozan for one year of Kawhi would be pretty funny honestly

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  3. I can’t wait for the season to start! I’m so sick of hearing about this mess. The Spurs have no leverage. Such a shame and a sad end to what was seemingly an unshakable legacy of greatness in SA.
    They didn’t help themselves with some of the contracts they gave out (Gasol) and the thinly veiled disrespect from Pop and Parker in the press.

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    • redsraiderspurs44

      How can you respect someone if they don’t talk to you and literally hide from you?

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      • seamaholic

        This. I don’t see this as the Spurs deal at all. This is 100% Kawhi and his — umm — inexperienced representatives just throwing a tantrum and pushing themselves into a corner that doesn’t benefit him. They need to wake up and commit to playing hard for whomever has him this season, and stop saying he’ll only sign with the Lakers (which probably isn’t any more true, anyway, than it was for Paul George).

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  4. tatumszn2018

    Spurs losing this trade one way or another. The aura is gone. For all the flack Kings, Knicks, and other organizations get which in times fair, its funny seeing some of the media in such disbelief with someone wanting to leave the Spurs as much as they foam at the mouth over them. Gut instinct, a four team deal gets it done.

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  5. I’m tired of the Leonard debacle, I just want him gone at this point. You don’t want to share medical information, you want to hide, you can’t grow a thick enough skin to be questioned by your teammates, you don’t want to be here? Hopefully you get your wish soon you prime Donna.

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    • bennyg

      I think you misread….
      It’s the SPURS who are the ones not willing to share his medical information. There’s a difference

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      • That’s the funny one. The Kawhi group doctor’s that said he couldn’t play this past season include the Sixers team physician.

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  6. Definitely this is the end of San Antonio, they will go back to the pre-Robinson days, were they didn’t matter at all, they made a mess of it all, you cannot win as a team if you go head to head with a star player, as simple as, already SA wasn’t appealing for FA, but now how many stars do you think will wanna go to SA, seeing the way they are trying to best Kawhi, bad form, they have to accept the league right now is player friendly, if a player doesn’t wanna play for you, you gotta let him go, look Cleveland with Kyrie, didn’t get what they wanted, but was better than nothing & they looked good catering for him, other players take note of that, clearly SA doesn’t, but they will in the future.

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    • That wins longest sentence ever. Aside from a few missing periods, logic seems to be absent as well.

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  7. This is the slow point of the NBA season. Capella and Hood are only impactful free agents. Eventually Carmello will be waived and probably end up in Houston. The only other big news is Kawhi and no one knows how it will end up. Cris Carter is reporting from Kawhi’s camp, but states he’s not talking to San Antonio. The only real thing to go on are last years Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Kyrie trades. The only all star involved was Isaiah Thomas, sort of. Chicago got a lottery pick the day of the draft, but the Lakers, Sixers, and Raptors won’t be in the lottery. It’s starting to look like San Antonio is going to make Kawhi report to camp like LeBron wanted to do with Kyrie. In hindsight, that might not have been a bad idea. Luke, if Kawhi tries to hold out, can the Spurs evoke the fitness-to-play rule, have him checked by 3 doctors, and terminate his contract if he’s found healthy and still refuses to play?

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  8. Spike4christ

    I hope they do envoke the 3 doctor rule. Let him sit out and go to the Lakers. If I was Lakers I may not sign him. I would sign Butler IMO. He is not worth the hassle.

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  9. x%sure

    The Spurs are asking a lot for Cowbutt for legal reasons, to say they tried to accomodate. I’m still predicting Spurs will keep his rights, Leonard will hold out, and Spurs will sue.

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      • x%sure

        IDK but somehow there’s going to be a judge in Texas stuck between a prickly pear cactus and a longhorn steer.

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  10. driftcat28

    The spurs should hold him and bench him for the season. They own his rights after all. Let his earnings take a potential hit

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  11. Jason kapono

    Here was my original argument for Toronto to make this trade:

    #4 Toronto
    Maybe this team is superman and LeBron is the kypronite. If he’s gone, maybe your record and #1 seed does mean something in the East. Or, maybe the moves to bring in Ibaka and have your hand forced with Lowry have put you in a place where you’re stuck in mediocrity. Can you win the east with the team you have? I think most people would give it a 20% chance, but it would take good luck and a great draw in the playoffs.

    Why make a trade:
    Your coach was coach of the year last season and you fired him. Lowry is untradeable, Derozan is good(???), Drake is your ambassador, and guess what – the east is NEVER going to be more open. It’s Boston’s to lose unless Philly makes a deal or you figure out a way to get the best out of your unique roster.

    Is 1 year of Kawhi worth it?:
    Yes. Toronto goes to the finals, fans are nuts about it. Drake raps all about it. Publicity! Vince Carter is honored at half time of the finals, commemorative t-shirts are sold. You win 1 game against the Warriors and people still write about that as a win. Maybe the Warriors rely too heavily on Durant like they did against Houston and Kawhi reminds the world why he was the best two-way player in the past decade. Maybe you take the Warriors 6 or 7.

    What package would it take:
    Van Vleet, Derozan, 1st 2019 rnd pick, right to swap 2020 or 2021.

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    • x%sure

      Spurs,have a vanvleet type already, needed Poetl to gradually replace PGasol.
      Good argument

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