The San Antonio Spurs are apparently not interested in trading Kawhi Leonard despite the mystery surrounding his injury and status. But that doesn’t mean teams won’t be lining up to acquire his services this summer.
Leonard has played just nine games this season and it seems extremely unlikely he will take the floor again this year, as it’s been reported that Leonard will miss the rest of the postseason. That sets up an uncertain summer for the Spurs and their superstar, who was a legitimate MVP candidate last season.
The Spurs have deferred to Leonard’s “group” on multiple occasions and he’s currently rehabbing in New York away from everyone else, setting up an uncertain summer for everyone involved. And according to the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney, the Lakers are serious about making a push for Leonard in the summer as part of a major overhaul of the team that is expected to include big free agent signings.
Deveney pointed to former Lakers coach Bryan Scott’s opinion that the Lakers will try to trade for Leonard and also sign LeBron James, pointing out that another font office executive agrees they’ll push for Leonard.
“I think they go in hard for Leonard once the season is over and once the dust settles in San Antonio,” one executive told Sporting News. “(Leonard) wants to go to LA. There probably won’t be public demands on that, but he has leverage. He is going to be a free agent (in 2019). He’s an LA guy and he can just let teams know he won’t re-sign next year with anyone but the Lakers.”
As Deveney notes, it’s not a simple trade for the Lakers to make, and fitting a supermax deal on the roster still requires some juggling by Los Angeles. But for a team that’s very clearly going star-hunting this summer as it tries to rebuild, Leonard is an intriguing option. Even if the Spurs say he isn’t currently on the table.