Sixers Believe They Can Win Kawhi Leonard Sweepstakes

6:20pm: According to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports, the Spurs sought three first-round picks and two current players. Schultz later clarified that neither Joel Embiid nor Ben Simmons were requested.

1:37pm: Multiple people with the Sixers are confident that Leonard would strongly consider re-signing with Philadelphia in 2019 if the club can acquire him, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. Jabari Young of The San Antonio Express-News confirms (via Twitter) that Leonard would entertain the possibility of sticking in Philadelphia if he’s traded to the Sixers rather than his preferred destination of L.A.

11:33am: The Sixers are set to meet with LeBron James‘ representatives in Los Angeles, and one of their top selling points will be a belief that they have a real chance to win the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes and acquire the star forward from the Spurs, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

We heard earlier this week that the 76ers were weighing possible trade packages for Leonard, having run a few ideas by team ownership. Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and the Heat’s 2021 first-round pick were cited as potential trade chips for Philadelphia that would appeal to the Spurs.

Now that James is officially a free agent, it’s a little simpler for a team like the Sixers – or the Lakers – to know where they stand in regard to both Kawhi and LeBron. Teams pursuing Leonard were in the dark last week prior to James’ option deadline, but it would be easier now for a club to overpay to acquire the Spurs forward if that club could be confident that doing so would convince LeBron to sign, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets.

There’s no guarantee that’s the case for the Sixers, but even without Leonard, the franchise could make a strong pitch to James’ reps today. The pitch will likely center on the culture that Brett Brown has built, the presence of elite defenders like Covington and Joel Embiid, and a style of play that could challenge the Warriors, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge.

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90 thoughts on “Sixers Believe They Can Win Kawhi Leonard Sweepstakes

  1. xdrta

    If there’s a “sweepstakes” for Leonard, that means SA will end up with a boatload of assets. They may be the real winners here.

    • Sheldon Bowen

      Pops track record alone should have people assuming he would do well with this trade. Everyone wants to ask like they are screwed. Pop got them to the top so he can at least make something out of this unfortunate situation

  2. Z-A

    If they landed LBJ, then I’d trade for Kawhi, not before. And Bayless is part of that trade, no if and or buts. Otherwise trade him to LA and deal with that or lose him for nothing. SA really has no leverage at this point. He can just not play and continue saying he is not healthy, taking 20M in the process.

    • Sheldon Bowen

      San Antonio has no leverage? I feel people don’t realize pop doesn’t make crap deals. He will do ok with this.

      • knickscavsfan

        I think it makes sense that he would probably do better in a trade for Kawhi if a) He had more than 1 year of control. 2) He’s made it clear that he wants to be a Laker one way or another. 3) There wasn’t the public knowledge that there’s turmoil in the team and that bringing him back would be tumultuous to say the least.

        • intrepid510

          Yeah that’s what we said about OKC.

          I think PG signing with them helped with the Spurs getting max value.

          • knickscavsfan

            It’s hard to say. Kawhi might be the kind of player that would sacrifice winning or money to be comfortable in the city where he wants to be.

    • xdrta

      He sits out when doctors say he’s healthy, he’ll have to sue the Spurs to get paid. And I don’t like his chances.

      • San Antonio has a lot of leverage. If Demarcus Cousins signs with Lakers, and San Antonio trades him to someone else, the Lakers are SOL. He’d have to sign as a free agent next summer, and the Lakers won’t have the money. The Lakers could do sign and trade next summer, but it would be expensive.

        • Z-A

          How would they be SOL? They trade him to any team in the east for anything, they could just wait the what 30 day period and trade him to the Lakers.

          • SuperSinker

            Why would a team who just acquired an elite basketball player trade him 60* days afterward?

            • knickscavsfan

              The same reason teams do 3 way trades? They can pre-negotiate a trade with the Lakers and just do it once the time limit expires.

              • SuperSinker

                Why though. You wouldn’t get an all star to just sit on him and wait 60 days.

          • That’s a joke isn’t it? If Philly or Boston gets him, they will keep him.

            • Z-A

              No that’s team x y z not phl or bos, gets him n flips him to the Lakers bc they want an Ingram or Ball or Kuzma or picks.

      • Z-A

        He did that this year… and made 18M. Did you follow the season? Good luck fighting the players association.

    • justin-turner overdrive

      LBJ said he’s not signing first though, and why would he? Anything could happen this offseason and he’d be better off waiting for the dust to settle.

      • Z-A

        Meaning an agreement, you go get Kawhi I sign the dotted line. That’s how it works.

      • knickscavsfan

        But LBJ can’t afford to wait too long IF he wants to also get top dollar. If the Lakers sign Cousins and then sign a couple other guys then what if they no longer have max contract availability? Would LBJ take $15 or $20 mil short-term just to be a Laker?

    • padam

      With PG signing in OKC, that leverage with the Lakers just went up for the Spurs.

      • knickscavsfan

        I would say the urgency MAY have gone up, IF it’s a fact that LBJ won’t come unless Kawhi is traded there first. Otherwise, Lakers can afford to wait one more year for him to be a FA.

    • No, SA’s leverage is at its highest right now. Whoever lands Leonard between Philly and Lakers, also lands James. It’s a two for one.

      It’s actually Leonard whose leverage is at a low point right now. Spurs have probably already told him something like this: “we hear you and will work for a trade, but we’re searching for the best deal for us and that might take until Christmas. We’re comfortable having you suit up for us if needed to start the season. It’s your call if you want to sit out again, but, as a friend, let me tell you that’s not a good look when you enter your UFA negotiations given you also say out last year. Also, it’s in your interest for us to trade you so the team that acquires you can offer you the full raises via bird rights, instead of the lower raises you’ll get in UFA. So.. how about Philly? I hear you like the East coast.”

      • Z-A

        Or he will be at home watching Netflix “rehabbing” until they figure out what they are doing.

        His leverage is not playing. And since he didnt come back for the playoffs he still can say hes not 100% right. Everyone knows he will opt out and go to LAL or LAC if they deal him anywhere else. His camp has said as much. PG13 wasnt as adamant when he got traded. “Not signing an extension with them” “still hurt” just puts his trade value at 50 cents.

        • There are three parties here, Spurs, The player (Leonard), and the acquiring team (Phil/LAL). The negotiations are just as much between spurs and Leonard as they are between spurs and the acquiring team. Let’s say your right and Leonard sits out ANOTHER year. How does that bode for his chances of getting that max long term deal? He’s gonna get low balled biggly, and his camp knows it.

          Also, it sounds like he’d consider staying in Philly now so that’s a blow to LAL leverage.

        • knickscavsfan

          I think the Spurs would have more of a case to present if Kawhi isn’t traded and uses his injury as an excuse not to play. It could also hurt his FA as teams would view a player who uses those tactics as a bit unsavory.

        • xdrta

          People say Leonard can just “not play.” Sure, if he wants to forfeit the $20MM he is making this year. No way he can just say “I’m injured” and still get paid. He’ll have to sue SA for the money.

            • xdrta

              Of course teams don’t sue players, why would they? If Kawhi sat out he’d have to sue the team to get the money. He has a contract, he has to play.

        • x%sure

          I think Kawhi’s LA adamancy is overrated. That talk was just to psyche himself up for tanking.

          • SuperSinker

            I mean, he skipped out on going to Spurs playoff games to be with his teammates and he was seen at a Dodgers game. Pretty coincidental.

          • SuperSinker

            Playing time does a lot of good to players in previously sheltered roles, Saric specifically.

  3. Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    The pitch will likely center on the culture that Brett Brown has built

    What culture? Brown is unable to even get his team inbounds the ball properly!!!

    Sam Hinkie’s process has turned into an absolute joke! And also quite frankly the NBA free agent process is a mockery of how it should be! The ‘Hired Gun/Bounty Hunter’ approach is nothing short of disgraceful
    It’s as bad as fouling within the last five minutes of the game and adding a half hour to the game. It lacks finesse!


    • Z-A

      Pretty sure the process has worked. BC screwed up trading away the Kings pick. They were at 3 and could have traded back for 5 and 10, it was 6 players deep pre-draft. Fultz Tatum Ball Jackson Smith and Fox all looked like nba ready players. Fultz did show he is capable, and without a shot hes limited like Fox. You use those draft picks to land proven players not move up in the draft. The draft is a crap shoot unless you have a LeBron talent.

      • hiflew

        The process didn’t work. Actually “the process” doesn’t even exist. Unless you want to call getting as many top 5 picks as possible and hoping they work out a process. If the Sixers don’t get lucky and win the “Ben Simmons lottery” then they are not even a playoff team.

        • LordBanana

          Lol you literally described the process. The point was to get lucky a draft a star.

        • Z-A

          Lol and the Wolves got lucky getting KAT. They got lucky LBJ hated rookies and they got the #1 overall pick. And Lavine who the drafted that year was part of the Butler trade, lucky he looked like a up and coming player?

        • knickscavsfan

          The process is just a name. But in the NBA how do mediocre or bad teams improve? Thru the draft. “Tanking” and I hate that word makes perfect sense. You can’t BUY your way to turning around a bad team unless you have tons of cap space, a signifigant amount of top talent on the market and are a destination where most teams want to go. Even still, a major city like LA has had trouble convincing stars to go there, not because they don’t love the city, but they may not buy into the ability to win there quickly.

        • Dodgethis

          How many top picks did it take for them to get Simmons? Way more than one.

          • Z-A

            Literally 1, they had the 1st overall in 1996 and 2016 without including trading for it last year.

  4. supercollider

    Not much upside from Saric or Covington. What you see is what you get.

    • Z-A

      smh you dont watch the Sixers. Saric ascending talent. RoCo is just an average player but good 2ndary defender tho.

    • joemoes

      But then a pick also Saric is a young player who is a future top 25 player imo. Along with Covington. Not a bad deal. Saric is key here. Pop gets to compete his last couple years still.

        • SuperSinker

          Saric/Covington/Miami’s 1st is a pretty good prize when the bidding is limited to ~3 teams

          • If this is what lands them James too, Fultz would have to be in that deal too at a minimum . And maybe rights to Bolden/AP as well

            • SuperSinker

              LBJ is a free agent, so I don’t see what one has to do with the other.

  5. Jason kapono

    I like this for the Sixers and for the Lakers. I think the Lakers should stand pat this offseason and grow their drafted talent by adding pieces around them. Give boogie a 1 yr prove it deal and see if you can take on Melo to sit on the end of the bench for Deng and a pick.

      • knickscavsfan

        Not really. It would save them $10 mil this year but he’s owed another guaranteed $18 mil for 19-20.

        • Z-A

          They showed the luxury tax implications of keeping Melo vs stretching him. If they keep him it’s like 237M next year.

    • knickscavsfan

      The idea that Melo would be sitting at the end of the bench as opposed to being a useful starter or 6th guy off the bench is laughable. As a 3rd option on a Russ Westbrook team he still was capable of 16 pts and 6 rebounds.

      • SuperSinker

        Ya, in 34 minutes on 6-17 shooting from the field with bad defence. Wasn’t Melo the worst player in basketball according to win shares?

  6. imindless

    Whats funny is lebron aint even attending and his decision has been made before meeting. Giving up saric and roco for 1 year of kawhi will look really bad next year. Best plan on developing your youth around simmons and embiid and stay relevant for years. Sixers as it stands look to rival celtics in the east.

    • thughand

      Yup. I’m not trading a couple players who have a big part of this team and its chemistry for a malcontent, coming off an injury, and may very well only be around for one season. This team is young and just starting to play well together. Let them grow and add a couple second tier players. I’m not dumping them for a big name. Especially Saric. He’s a grinder and exactly the kind of player this city loves.

  7. GeauxSpursGeaux

    It sounds like Lebron would love to go to LA but really wants to play with Kawahi. He has put the pressure on LA to land Kawahi in hopes they will. Would Lebron consider playing with the spurs if they keep Kawahi and could that be enough to keep Kawahi in SA?

  8. FromTheCheapSeats

    I guarantee you, when it’s all said and done, the Spurs will have “won” the Kawhi Sweepstakes. They are going to get a Kong’s ransom for this guy.

  9. knickscavsfan

    I don’t agree with the idea that Leonard, at this point today, is letting people know that he would consider staying with Philly if traded there. Yes, if he went there, liked the culture and they won, maybe he would want to stay. However, he seems like a guy who geniuinely knows where he would be most happiest and that at home, in LA, where his family is. The fact that he doesn’t seem to care who else may or may not join him seems irrelevant. He’s ready to go there now with the roster they have.

    • formerlyz

      You have to also remember his uncle is in NJ/NY, and has also been pushing him to that area the last couple of years. That makes philly plausible, especially considering Brett Brown, and their ability to win with that roster

    • x%sure

      I think there’s a lot of projection going on with Leonard. He is not so readable, and has family in NJ too.

  10. Everything depends on how long Pop wants to hold on to Kawhi, and if Kawhi is willing to sign an extension with Boston.

  11. cland1494

    if you are the Sixers, you pull the trigger on this trade in a heartbeat. with Leonard, Embiid, and Simmons in Philly, I think it almost guarantees that LeBron goes over. No team in the league would match up against that lineup, if healthy. 3 first rounders and 2 current players that aren’t Simmons or Embiid is almost a steal, seeing as those 1st rounders would probably be late, late picks anyways.

  12. Bryzzo2016

    I think PG re signing w/OKC actually gives SA leverage. It was widely reported that PG wouldn’t re sign with any team that traded for him other than L.A. The Lakers played hardball, refusing to move Ingram and the #2 (Ball) assuming they could wait a year and get him for nothing. Now Kawi is reportedly “willing to consider re signing w/ Philly” So are the Lakers gonna make the same mistake twice?

    Also, is LeBron gonna sign on to essentially play with Cousins (maybe) and a bunch of unproven kids including the soap opera that comes with Ball… and his father. I don’t think so, Philly can really turn this all upside down. So can Boston, but to a lesser extent, because I think Bron would consider Philly, but not Boston. Kyrie made it very clear he didn’t want to play w/ Bron.

  13. DannyQ3913

    “According to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports, the Spurs sought three first-round picks and two current players.”

    Haha that’s a joke

  14. imindless

    Saric, roco/fultz and 3 first rounders. High price for a maybe. I think this is leverage to get lakers young pieces however. Sign and trade Randle, kuzma/ingram and first rounders are better than sixers table scraps.

  15. Z-A

    3 first rounders are we the bleeping Nets? RoCo and Heat pick. Or watch him walk Pop.

  16. Just pack it in until training camp if you’re the Spurs, and put pressure back on Leonard to play out his deal. Everyone is going to low ball you now that LBJ is in LA anyway.

  17. Z-A

    Sixers need to shift gears now. Kawhi is NOT an option without LBJ in the fold.

    Is 3/54 or 3/60 for Jabari Parker (23) RFA a better option than another year of 1-year deals and waiting for the 2019 FA Class, with the only get-able guys better than Parker being Butler & Walker and 3 on par guys in Middleton , Harris , or Mirotic:

    Tier 1
    Klay Thompson (29) <Long Shot
    Devin Booker (23) RFA <Long Shot
    KAT (24) RFA <Long Shot
    Kyrie Irving (27) Option <Long Shot
    Jimmy Butler (30) Option <Fair Odds
    Kawhi lol (28) Option <No Shot

    Tier 2
    Kemba Walker (29) <Fair Odds
    Khris Middleton (28) Option <Fair Odds
    Kevin Love (31) Option <No Thanks

    Tier 3
    Tobias Harris (27) <Get-able
    Nikola Mirotic (28) <Get-able
    Terry Rozier (25) RFA <Depends on Kyrie
    D'Angelo Russel (23) RFA <Long Shot

  18. Why everyone thinks Popovich & San Antonio are geniuses, they just struck lucky twice with Robinson/Duncan, with the type of loyal & principled guys they were, & Popovich just was the lucky dude that coaching them got a handful of rings. Popovich & Kerr are two lucky guys to be on the right place at the right time, definitely they are not great coaches.

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