Sixers prepared to offer Spurs same trade package for Kawhi Leonard
The Philadelphia Sixers finally landed their star after trading for Jimmy Butler, but they were ready to offer the same package for Kawhi Leonard over the summer according to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated.
Listen, Jimmy Butler is awesome, but he’s no Kawhi Leonard. The ridiculous start by the Toronto Raptors is proof that when healthy, Leonard is a top five player in the league. He is one of the best defenders in the league, he’s a terrific rebounder, and he’s a problem on offense. Butler is a very similar player to Leonard, but it’s clear that Leonard is a notch above Butler. Not to mention, Kawhi is two years younger than Butler.
Even though Leonard might be the better player, Butler comes with more stability. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that an extension at the end of the season looks likely for Butler. Conversely, Leonard gave Toronto no such assurances and it’s probable that he would have been equally mysterious about his future in Philly.
In an alternate reality, Leonard may have ended up on the Sixers, but in our world, the Sixers just became one of the Raptors toughest competitors in the Eastern Conference. Toronto is off to a white-hot start, winning 11 of their first 12, but the Sixers aren’t far behind at 8-5. Despite the early predictions of a weak East, the Butler and Leonard trades helped pump some life into the East. The race to the NBA Finals could be the most interesting storyline of the season moving forward.