The Kawhi Leonard saga continues in San Antonio as the Spurs superstar remains sidelined by the quadriceps injury he suffered before this season. Team doctors have already cleared him to play, but his own medical team has not, and the two-time NBA All-Star apparently opted to follow the latter’s advice.
This situation has reportedly caused a growing divide between Leonard and the Spurs. Thus, trade rumors surrounding the player have grown louder and louder with the Los Angeles Clippers rumored to be the latest club linked to the former NBA Finals MVP, according to Bleacher Report.
San Antonio is currently in a fight with the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, and the team could definitely use Leonard’s help, USA Today’s Sam Amick reported. The Spurs were crushed by the defending champions, 113-92, in Game 1 on Saturday, even though two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry did not play.
Amick said that the Spurs’ handling of Leonard’s injury has created a “fork in the road” for the franchise. The team is said to be deciding whether they would offer him the more-than-$200 million super max contract extension this summer, or will they trade him to jumpstart a rebuilding process.
Leonard is in the third year of his five-year, $94 million contract with the Spurs. He has a player option at the end of next season, which means he could choose to become an unrestricted free agent and weigh his market options.
At 26-years-old, and still not in his prime, Leonard is already considered as one of the league’s best two-way players by many basketball experts. It was the reason why teams like his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics are speculated to be interested in trading for the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
Recently, his other hometown team, the Clippers, were added to that list with Bleacher Report’s Kyle Newport reporting that Doc Rivers and company are preparing a trade package to offer the Spurs in exchange for Leonard.
Newport said that the Clippers “are a logical landing spot for Leonard,” not only because he is from L.A., but because the franchise would be looking for a “young star to build around” in the post-big three era. Los Angeles has traded their two best players, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, this season, while their third star, DeAndre Jordan, is also being mentioned in the rumor mill.