In an NBA offseason already boasting the free agency of LeBron James, Paul George, Demarcus Cousins, and Jodie Meeks, a new superstar is on the market: Kawhi Leonard.
This trade request was about as surprising as the Warriors beat the Cavs in the finals as Kawhi only played nine games for the Spurs this year and refused to travel with the team in the playoffs. While some reports point to his quad injury as the reason for his lack of involvement with the organization, teammates and close contacts shared information that he was healthy enough to play late in the season, and chose not to.
Kawhi Leonard has never been the most talkative basketball player; the Spurs were trying to keep the messy situation with him on the DL which has led to a wide range of conspiracy theories on ka-why he requested a trade. Since his request, things have been chippy in the lone star state, perhaps best exemplified by the renowned San Antonio zoo terminating Kawhi’s membership.
Leonard listed his preferable team as the Los Angeles Lakers, which is no surprise because San Diego is his hometown. (Stand for professional sports in San Diego. Also, roll Padres). Some other favorites to land Kawhi are the Clippers, Rockets, Celtics, 76ers, and the Knicks.
Kawhi going to Los Angeles will stir up the basketball powerhouse that is the Western Conference. The dynasty of Golden State; the hungry, chip-on-their-shoulder Rockets; and the Lakers if the right moves are made by the general manager, Rob Pelinka.
Kawhi is still on contract with the Spurs so his choice in where he goes is limited, but he holds the keys to the next NBA super team. The Spurs are a smart organization and will be able to get good assets in return, but Kawhi’s departure is obviously devastating to the team right now. In the end, he may never be traded but it seems likely. The Spurs recently said that they have no interest in trading Kawhi to another Western Conference team, but if given the right pieces in return, a deal can definitely be made.
Ka-where do you think Leonard will end up? I’m going with the Los Angeles Lakers just because they have a lot of young talent to trade and it is Kawhi’s preferred destination. Reports have also been circulating that the Lakers are racing to make a deal for the klaw in order to help them attract free agents like Paul George and LeBron James. I could see the Lake-show offering a lot for Kawhi.
The NBA’s most awkward, and the arguably best defensive player is on the move. Let’s just hope he doesn’t join the Warriors and ruin the NBA even more.