The San Antonio Spurs and Kawhi Leonard are headed for a divorce. That’s the way the winds are blowing and it’s obvious for all to see. The relationship appears irreparably damaged. If that’s truly the case, the Spurs have to move Leonard this offseason to ensure they get value for him before he can opt out of his contract in 2019.
What we have below is a list of five potential trades for Leonard. All of them have been run through the trade machine and the money works. We’re also going to assume Leonard would agree to a big-money extension with whichever team he’s traded to in this scenario.
You’ll notice two big omissions from the list: the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. For the Celtics, I could not come up with a realistic scenario for a trade given Danny Ainge’s reluctance to part with any young players or draft assets, and the presence of so many wings on Boston’s roster. As for the Lakers, Gregg Popovich has a longstanding rule not to trade with them, so it’s highly unlikely he’d break it to give up his best player.
Here’s our look at the five most likely trade scenarios for the Spurs and Kawhi Leonard:
The Phoenix Suns are looking to make a jump next season and while they have a number of young, talented players, they need an established star to give the franchise’s rebuild a boost. With the Spurs desperately in need of some young, athletic players, a deal with Phoenix makes sense for both parties.
In this trade, the Suns get Kawhi, but have to surrender two young building blocks. Josh Jackson and Dragan Bender head to San Antonio, along with Jared Dudley’s salary. The Suns also send the Spurs Miami’s 2018 first-round pick.
Suns get: Kawhi Leonard
Spurs get: Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender, Jared Dudley, Miami’s 2018 first-round pick