Kawhi Leonard trade rumors continued to emerge as news came out that the San Antonio Spurs star has decided to shut himself down for the remainder of the playoffs. The Spurs are in a first-round match with the Golden State Warriors, and they are currently trailing the defending champions, 0-2, in the seven-game series.
Different trade scenarios involving the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year have been arising in the rumor mill these days, and the latest team linked to Leonard was his other hometown squad, the Los Angeles Clippers. According to FanSided’s Clipperholics, San Antonio could move the All-Star forward and sharp-shooting wingman Danny Green to the Clippers this summer in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, Austin Rivers, and Los Angeles’ 2018 first-rounder and 2019 second-rounder.
Gallinari has only played 21 games this season, his first with the Clippers after getting traded to the squad last summer, as he struggled with various injuries. Despite his ordeal, the 10-year veteran managed to produce decent numbers of 15.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 32.0 minutes per game, which are not that far from his career averages.
Meanwhile, Rivers is a young point guard coming off his breakthrough season even though the Clippers failed to qualify for the playoffs. The 25-year-old former Duke standout averaged career highs of 15.1 points, 4.0 assists, 2.4 boards, and 1.2 steals in 33.7 minutes a night this year, shooting also a career high of 37.8 percent from beyond the three-point line.
Clipperholics said that Rivers would inject some youth in the Spurs’ backcourt that has two future Hall-of-Famers in Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili already fighting back Father Time. Meanwhile, Gallinari is said to be “perfect” for head coach Gregg Popovich’s system with the Italian power forward’s ability to stretch the floor despite his size.
On the other hand, Los Angeles would have the opportunity to become one of the league’s best defensive teams if the suggested trade happens, as Leonard and Green team up with DeAndre Jordan, Tobias Harris, and Patrick Beverley in Doc Rivers’ starting lineup.
Jordan is a two-time NBA All-Defensive Team First Team member and a two-time rebounding leader as well. The one-time NBA All-Star is also rumored to be on the trading block, as he is unlikely to receive a contract extension from the Clippers this summer, according to the Los Angeles Times.