The San Antonio Spurs are currently active on the trade market finding the best offer they can get for Kawhi Leonard. Though they are heavily engaged in trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Spurs are more interested in trading Leonard to Eastern Conference teams to prevent the Purple and Gold from becoming a major threat in the Western Conference.
One of the Eastern Conference teams who expressed strong interest in adding Kawhi Leonard to their roster is the Philadelphia 76ers. Like the Lakers, the 76ers also have a plethora of trade assets to convince the Spurs to engage in a blockbuster deal. According to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated, the 76ers have held “serious internal discussions” about bringing Leonard to Philadephia.
“The Spurs are ramping up Kawhi Leonard trade talks and two Eastern Conference teams appear to be jockeying for position. The Philadelphia 76ers have recognized the Spurs’ and L.A. Lakers’ urgency to complete a deal, sources say. And while the Sixers have not made a formal offer to San Antonio at this time, Philadelphia has held serious internal discussions about acquiring Leonard over the last 48 hours. The front office has presented team ownership with several trade scenarios for discussion, sources say.”
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) June 28, 2018
As Fischer noted, the 76ers’ internal discussions are focused on the potential trade packages they could offer to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. These include combinations of young players and future draft picks. The 76ers and the Spurs have already engaged in preliminary discussions, and San Antonio reportedly has “strong interest” in the package including Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and a future first-round pick. The pick that could be included in the deal is the Miami Heat’s 2021 unprotected first-round pick; the pick the 76ers acquired from the Phoenix Suns during the 2018 NBA Draft.
Saric and Covington were undeniably a huge part of the 76ers’ recent success, but trading both forwards is definitely something Philadelphia should consider if it means acquiring a legitimate superstar like Kawhi Leonard. Pairing Leonard with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid will make the 76ers one of the top favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals next season even if LeBron James returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers or Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward stay healthy throughout the season.
However, before proceeding in any trade deal with the Spurs, the 76ers should first get an assurance from Leonard that he intends to stay in Philadelphia beyond the 2018-19 NBA season. Also, the 76ers should make sure that the All-Star forward is 100 percent recovered from the quadriceps injury he suffered last season.