Kawhi Leonard can’t escape the NBA rumors, even when it’s fellow players who are fueling it.
The possibly disgruntled San Antonio Spurs forward could be headed to a new team next year if he cannot repair the rift with the team’s management, and Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum thinks that Leonard will be headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. Speaking on his podcast this week, McCollum said he believes that Leonard’s tenure with the Spurs is over and he could be moving to a budding powerhouse in the Western Conference.
“I’m willing to bet based on the rumors of bigger markets — you hear people say L.A., which is what I think will happen,” McCollum said. “You also hear whispers about the Sixers, whispers about the New York Knicks. Another sleeper could potentially be the Boston Celtics.
“I think, based on what we’ve seen, there’s a high likelihood that he will no longer be with the franchise in the future. High likelihood.”
There are plenty of rumors surrounding Kawhi Leonard, who has been drifting away from the team during his injury rehab. Leonard did not play in the NBA playoffs and has reportedly been estranged from the team, leading to growing rumors that he Spurs may be trading him. The Express noted that the Philadelphia 76ers could also be interested, and the addition of the All-Star Leonard could vault the Sixers to the top of the Eastern Conference.
As the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll noted, there are rumors that the Spurs organization is worried that Kawhi Leonard’s agent wants him to jump to a bigger market, which would put the Los Angeles Lakers near the top.
The Lakers have been front and center in the recent NBA trade rumors as well, with speculation that they will be making a run at both LeBron James and Paul George at the start of free agency. The Lakers have been preparing to make a splash this year by assembling young talent and building cap space, but landing all three, LeBron James, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard, would seem a stretch.
But both George and Leonard could have some extra motivation, as they are both from the Los Angeles area and could have some interest in going home.
There are still plenty of questions marks amid the NBA rumors. It is not clear what the asking price would be for Kawhi Leonard, who would become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. The Spurs have also been very tight-lipped about their plans with Leonard, or even where the situation stands.