Leonard played in just nine games this season and averaged 16.2 points, 2.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds. If they don't get a long-term assurance from him and he decides to leave next summer (when he can hit unrestricted free agency by opting out of his contract), they would've given up the No. 1 overall pick and other attractive assets for a one-year rental of Leonard.
"Several league sources told me they anticipate Suns general manager Ryan McDonough to probe a Leonard deal using the no. 1 pick", O'Connor wrote. While San Antonio was in the playoffs, losing in the first round to eventual repeat champion Golden State, Leonard was rehabbing in NY - which meant that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, when asked for the situation, deferred all comment to "Kawhi and his group". Leonard graduated from King High School in Riverside and had two standout seasons at San Diego State before the Spurs drafted him 15th overall in the 2011 draft. If they renounce the rights to all 7 of these players (Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, Isaiah Thomas), they would free up $37 million, giving them enough room for Kawhi and enough to fill out the bench with some vet minimums, which players would do to play with that collection of talent. If the Spurs do entertain trade offers for their discontented star, the Celtics are still interested in acquiring him, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. All of these pieces could fall perfectly in place, allowing San Antonio to bypass the rebuilding process.
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However, Leonard does not have a no-trade clause in his contract.
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs is introduced before the game against the Denver Nuggets on January 13, 2018 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
As great as it would be to land one of the greatest players to ever step foot on the basketball court, the Sixers also know they have to be realistic about the long-shot possibility, and come up with potential alternative options, which is where Kawhi Leonard could come into play. Boston inquired about a trade before the February deadline, sources said.
The NBA off-season is heating up and the draft is only a week away. The deal might make more sense for the rebuilding Lakers than for the Spurs, however.