The San Antonio Spurs are currently entertaining trade offers for Kawhi Leonard, hoping they could acquire valuable assets in return for the disgruntled superstar. One of the NBA teams heavily engaged in trade discussions with the Spurs is the Los Angeles Lakers. After the successful acquisition of LeBron James in the free agency market, the Lakers looked more determined to add Leonard to their team.
With DeMarcus Cousins joining the mighty Golden State Warriors, it makes more sense for the Lakers to trade for Kawhi Leonard in order to help LeBron James conquer the Western Conference next season. However, as of now, the Spurs are still expecting a “Godfather” offer from the Lakers. In an appearance on Spectrum Sportsnet (h/t SB Nation‘s Silver Screen And Roll), CBA expert Larry Coon revealed that the Spurs are demanding a trade package including Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, and draft picks.
“From what I hear they’re asking a lot. My sources are saying Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, two firsts and two pick swaps… They’re just saying give us everything.”
Acquiring Ingram, Hart, and Kuzma will undeniably help the Spurs speed up the rebuilding process once Kawhi Leonard leaves the team. However, despite their need of an additional star power, it is highly unlikely that the Lakers will give up all those assets for a player who already expressed interest in joining them as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. Even the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, who have a plethora of interesting trade assets like the Lakers, are not willing to go all-in for Leonard.
Before the 2018 NBA free agency started, there was a growing belief in Los Angeles that the Lakers would give up everything to acquire Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs. The successful acquisition of Leonard was expected to strengthen their chance of signing LeBron James in the free agency market. However, their plans have changed when the Lakers talked with James’ representatives, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN (h/t SB Nation‘s Silver Screen And Roll).
“I do think a period of days ago … the Lakers were unsure about whether they needed to get Kawhi or not. There was period where they were like ‘boy do we need to do this to try to figure out whether this quote, unquote closes the LeBron deal?’ and I think they investigated it. And they basically got the word, ‘No, that’s not true. LeBron’s prepared either way … and that’s when the talks backed way off.”
It is easy to understand why the Spurs are demanding lots of valuable assets from teams interested in Kawhi Leonard. Despite his past injuries, Leonard is still one of the best two-way players in the league. However, if the Spurs decide to hold Leonard longer, his trade value will continue to decrease, and much worse, they could lose him in 2019 free agency without getting anything in return.