The San Antonio Spurs are still alive in the NBA Playoffs but, with the team trailing 2-0 to the Golden State Warriors, most of the NBA-wide attention surrounding the Spurs revolves around the future of Kawhi Leonard. The All-NBA forward has not appeared in a game since Jan. 13, as Leonard was limited to only nine appearances this season as a result of injury.
The ongoing saga of whether Leonard should play (or at least be with his team) continues, but recently, there have been rumblings of a potential trade involving the All-NBA forward. However, Marc Stein of the New York Times shed light that, contrary to popular belief, the Spurs reportedly aren’t planning on doing anything just yet.
One well-placed insider who has closely monitored this situation told me recently that the Spurs continue to give off signals behind the scenes that they won’t trade Leonard. I’m sure they want Leonard to believe that, but this saga has reached the point that a trade has to be considered no less likely than the prospect of a Pop/Kawhi summit that leads to a detente.
There are many dynamics in play, including recent praise for LaMarcus Aldridge from Gregg Popovich that many believed was a shot across the bow at Leonard. Plus there’s the lingering possibility that the Spurs could offer a designated player contract extension that would pay Leonard handsomely in the near future. To this point, every contract of that magnitude that has been offered across the league has been accepted and, if the offer occurs and Leonard passes, that would be a fairly clear signal to San Antonio that a trade was the best avenue forward.
Leonard likely isn’t going to return this season, even if the Spurs somehow rise from the dead against the Warriors. With that in mind, all eyes are on what takes place during the summer and if he isn’t locked up to a massive contract extension with haste, trade winds could blow, even if the Spurs aren’t necessarily desiring that eventual outcome.