If the drama in San Antonio will continue until the offseason, Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs could be headed into an inevitable divorce. Having a player who no longer wants to stay with the team is undeniably a huge problem for the Spurs, but good news to rival teams who dreamt of acquiring a superstar this summer.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN recently revealed that several NBA teams are planning to call the Spurs and inquire about Leonard’s availability via trade (h/t RealGM). According to Sam Amico of Amico Hoops, the Cleveland Cavaliers are among the teams who are “closely monitoring” the Spurs’ situation.
“The drama seemingly has given opposing teams hope that Leonard can be had in a trade this summer. And the Cavaliers are among those who are closely monitoring the situation in San Antonio, league sources told Amico Hoops on Tuesday.”
Amico believes the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick will play a key role in the Cavs’ potential acquisition of Kawhi Leonard. If the Cavaliers and the Spurs engage in a trade negotiation, San Antonio is expected to center the talks on the Nets’ pick. The pick is believed to be the most valuable asset the Cavaliers acquired from trading Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics since it could help them speed up the rebuilding process if ever LeBron James leaves in the upcoming free agency.
However, trading the Nets’ pick for a player of Kawhi Leonard’s caliber may also convince LeBron James to re-sign with the Cavaliers. James will surely love the idea of teaming up with Leonard, who he considered the player who defends him the best. The All-Star forward will not only boost the Cavaliers’ defense but will also give them someone they can rely on the offensive ends of the floor.
Since losing Irving, Kevin Love is expected to step up and become the Cavs’ second option next to James. Unfortunately, Love failed to live up to expectations and bring back the “Minnesota Kevin Love,” forcing James to work harder and play extended time. Having Leonard on the team will lessen the load for James and will strengthen their chance of beating their rivals, the Golden State Warriors, in a best-of-seven series.
As of now, the Cavaliers are focused in the ongoing 2017-18 NBA season, aiming to return to the NBA Finals for fourth consecutive years. The Spurs are expected to do everything they can do to fix their relationship with Leonard before resorting to the idea of sending him to other teams.