The San Antonio Spurs are reportedly “determined” to trade talented big man Kawhi Leonard, and the newest NBA trade rumors place the Los Angeles Lakers at the front of the pack.
There have been rumors that Leonard could be leaving San Antonio for months as he remained out with a mysterious injury rehab and a rift between Leonard and the team grew. Now, veteran sportswriter Peter Vecsey is reporting that the team has had enough and is determined to trade him. Vecsey shared the news on his Patreon page, saying that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich didn’t even want Leonard near the team’s practices by the end of their season.
Vecsey also quoted an unnamed executive who said that the Spurs are likely trading Kawhi Leonard to an Eastern Conference team, but other reports have pegged the Los Angeles Lakers as the frontrunner. As the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll noted, the NBA All-Star was spotted at a Dodgers game this week, even though Leonard was unable to attend any of his team’s own playoff games.
The report also noted that Leonard has been looking at the Lakers as an option when he hits free agency in 2019, so even if the San Antonio Spurs were to trade him somewhere out east, he could still find his way back to his hometown the following year.
The Lakers have been the most active team in the NBA rumor mill, with reports that the team will be targeting both LeBron James and Paul George when free agency starts this summer. The Lakers have been connected to LeBron for more than a year, with the team making a series of moves to free up the cap space necessary and rumors building that James wants to move to Los Angeles, where he has an offseason home.
Whatever happens with the NBA trade rumors, the normally very tight-lipped San Antonio Spurs are doing little to fuel the reports. There has been no official word from the team on what they plan to do with Kawhi Leonard, and past reports claimed that they hoped to bring him back on board the way LaMarcus Aldridge did after he clashed with the front office the previous season.