After opting out of the final year of his contract worth $36 million, Kawhi Leonard is now a highly sought free agent. With Leonard being on virtually every teams wish list, there’s only a select few that he would consider, especially with him wanting to be on a contender and more than likely looking for a max deal. Now that there’s no guarantee Leonard will return to the Clippers as previously expected, it is widely expected that he’ll be meeting with other contenders to weigh his options.
The only caveat to all this is that he’s expected to miss a huge portion of the 2021-22 NBA season after recently having undergone surgery to repair a partially torn ACL. Having said all this, let’s take a look at three theoretical teams that could actually sign Kawhi Leonard if his talks on a new deal with the Clippers stall.
This move would not only please franchise star Luka Doncic, but it would also give the Mavericks the most complete star duo in the league and would catapult them into title contention. As arguably complete two-way player in the game, Kawhi Leonard would perfectly complement Luka Doncic’s game and give him a ton of relief on both ends of the floor. Between Leonard and Doncic’s court vision, rebounding, active hands, and well-rounded offensive games, they’d form the most unstoppable superstar tandem in the league.
With the addition of Kawhi Leonard, Dallas would become a trade deadline and free agent hot spot that would be give Luka even more help than he could’ve imagined. This in-turn would give the Mavericks their long-desired contender of the future while also pleasing their disgruntled superstar. Dallas definitely has the cap space and assets to pull off a sign-and-trade for the All-Star forward and two-time NBA champion.
The Sixers may not have the most cap room, but they do have a disgruntled star in Ben Simmons who seems to have no desire to return to the team. Granted he has his offensive deficiencies, but he’s still just 25 years old and has plenty of potential to become a more versatile threat on that end of the floor.If there is a coach out there who can get through to him and bring out the best in his game, then it’s definitely Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue.
On the flip side, Kawhi Leonard would make the Sixers title favorites and form an electric duo with Joel Embiid. Plus with a supporting cast of Seth Curry, Furkan Korkmaz, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, and now Andre Drummond, the Sixers would boast a deep and dynamic roster that would take the league by storm on the way to multiple title runs.
Not to mention this move would also reunite Leonard with former teammate and longtime friend Danny Green, who is one of the premier 3-and-D guys in the NBA. The Sixers may not have cap flexibility, but a young star like Ben Simmons who’s still a little rough around the edges packaged together with some draft picks would make for a very doable sign-and-trade for Philly.
The Warriors have very limited cap room after signing franchise superstar Stephen Curry to a max extension, but they have valuable trade assets and young talent that could make for a very doable sign-and-trade scenario involving Kawhi Leonard. If Leonard were to join the Warriors, they would assemble one of the greatest starting line-ups of all-time.
Between Curry, Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Warriors would become the best scoring, 3-point shooting, and defensive unit in the NBA. They would have to give up a lot for the injury-riddled Leonard, but with their top-notch training staff and winning culture, Golden State would be willing to wait out Leonard’s recovery back to full strength.
This would also guarantee Kawhi Leonard an opportunity to finish out his career competing for championships playing alongside the greatest scoring backcourt in NBA history and a fellow Defensive Player Of The Year award winner. With the acquisition of Leonard, Golden State would have another big four that could take them right back to the NBA Finals.