Spurs targeted Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid in Kawhi Leonard trade talks
The San Antonio Spurs mulled potentially trading Kawhi Leonard to teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics, and the Philadelphia 76ers — but neither team was willing to offer what the franchise demanded. Turns out that San Antonio was looking for an immediate return, and in the case of the Sixers, the franchise aimed for their best two all-around talents — Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
During the latest edition of The Lowe Post, ESPN’s Zach Lowe granted some clarity on trade negotiations, arguing that the Spurs never asked for rookie Markelle Fultz, but their more established guys instead.
“There is no evidence that the Spurs wanted Fultz. I’ve been told the Spurs never asked for Fultz, and actively didn’t want Fultz, and in fact wanted one of the two big guys.”
San Antonio wanted an immediate return, and teams like the Sixers, Lakers, and Celtics were only offering up draft picks or long-term compensations for Leonard, who the Spurs still considered as a top-5 talent.
Under that same reasoning, they chose to trade him to the Toronto Raptors, who were willing to put their very own franchise player on the deal — making a more even swap possible.
The Sixers obviously refused the idea of trading either of their stars, knowing they are the building block to their franchise — seeing the trade as too ambitious for a player coming off injury.
Fultz was of no interest to the Spurs, given that they would trade an already-established player coming off injury for one who is still a prospect, which would only be taking a step back when all things are considered.