Best trades that all 29 teams can offer the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard
He was supposed to be a Spur for life. After winning a championship and the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award in 2014, and finishing in the top three in the regular season MVP race last season, Kawhi Leonard was destined for greatness in a San Antonio Spurs jersey.
He was the successor to Tim Duncan, the man who carried the Spurs to five NBA titles after David Robinson passed the baton to him more than a decade ago.
But, an injury-riddled 2017-18 season has tarnished the once harmonious pairing of the Spurs and Leonard, possibly paving the way for a breakup this summer. The drama-filled situation within the organization has some players questioning the All-Star forward’s commitment to the team and his dependability, which may have forever created a distrust between the sides.
That only heightened on Friday with the news breaking that Leonard does indeed want out of San Antonio, despite attempts from Gregg Popovich and even Duncan to smooth over their relationship.
If the Spurs suddenly find themselves without a solution to their dilemma, there is no shortage of teams wanting to take Leonard off their hands.
A couple months back, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared on “Outside The Lines” and said that teams have indicated that the Spurs will soon be fielding in calls in an attempt to move Leonard to the highest bidder.
“I have already talked to several NBA general managers. At the end of this season, teams will call the Spurs and inquire about the availability of Kawhi Leonard.”
This was later confirmed by his fellow ESPN writer Zach Lowe, who added that the draft will play a huge part in the wheeling-and-dealing of the superstar.
Not that Windy needs any confirmation, ever, but this is 100% true. Vultures are circling, in hopes of action around the draft. https://t.co/Osp4WLofgv
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) April 3, 2018
With this in mind, what are the best trade packages that each of the league’s 29 other teams can come up with to make a trade with the Spurs for Leonard? Though I doubt that more than half of them have a chance, let’s look at what each of them has to offer, from the worst to the best.
*Note: The trades proposed here are based on ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine. For those teams that will be giving up some of their best players, we’re also assuming that Leonard would want to sign an extension with them for the trade to be consummated.
29. Sacramento Kings
Trade Assets: PF Zach Randolph, SG Buddy Hield, possibly #2 overall pick
There is no way that the Sacramento Kings will surrender their first-round draft pick this summer to the Spurs. So, the best assets they can offer are Zach Randolph and Buddy Hield in exchange for the Spurs star forward.
That means there is no trade possibility here since Randolph will only be taking up Aldridge’s spot, or would be his backup. Though the two might be able to co-exist especially with Aldridge’s range, it’s an experiment that San Antonio would dare not try. Hield is a good young player but not good enough to make the Spurs consider this trade considering what else is out there.