The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the NBA teams who expressed strong interest in trading for Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs. Despite saying that he will only sign with the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, Chris Haynes of ESPN revealed that Leonard is now also giving the Sixers a consideration.
The Sixers could offer a combination of young players and drafts picks to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. According to Keith Pompey of Philly.com, the “most realistic trade package” the Sixers could send to the Spurs includes Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and a future first-round pick. However, the Spurs are reportedly asking for two more first-round picks from the Sixers.
“The Spurs keep trying to raise the ante for Leonard, saying that another team is offering more, according to sources. The Sixers’ most realistic package to submit to San Antonio could involve Dario Saric, Robert Covington and the Miami Heat’s 2021 unprotected first-round pick. However, the Spurs want two players — again, believed to be Saric and Covington — and three future first-round picks. So the Sixers will have to decide if they want to part with two more first-round picks or see if the Spurs will back off those demands.”
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) July 9, 2018
Despite their worsening relationship with Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs are still hoping that they can get valuable assets that could keep them competitive in the Western Conference. Dario Saric and Robert Covington will undeniably be great additions in San Antonio, and their game could further improve when they start playing under Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Covington could replace Leonard in the wing, while Saric will team up with LaMarcus Aldridge in the Spurs’ frontcourt.
When healthy, Leonard proves to be one of the best two-way players in the league. Pairing him with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid will definitely make the Sixers one of the top favorite teams to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2019 NBA Finals. However, giving up three first-round picks together with Saric and Covington could be too much for a player who only played nine games last season and a possible one-year rental.
Before the Sixers and other interested teams give a “Godfather” offer to the Spurs, it is highly likely that they will first want to get an assurance that Leonard is already 100 percent recovered from the quad injury. Also, teams will definitely want to hear personally that Leonard intends to stay beyond the 2018-19 NBA season.