Luka Doncic's Presence Makes Mavs 'Most Serious Threat' To Sign Kawhi Leonard In 2021 Free Agency

Luka Doncic trying to block Kawhi Leonard
Gettyimages | Pool

As soon as they are eliminated in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, rumors have started to swirl around All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard and his future with the Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard has a player option on his contract that would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Leonard may not have ruled out the possibility of inking a new deal with the Clippers but once he officially hits the free agency market, opposing teams are expected to do everything they can to convince him to leave Los Angeles.

Mavericks Plan To Make 'Hard Push' For Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard reaction after hitting a three-pointer
Gettyimages | Kevin C. Cox

One of the teams that could express a strong interest in stealing Leonard from the Clippers is the Dallas Mavericks. According to a league source who spoke to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, the Mavericks are among the aspiring contenders that plan to make a "hard push" for Leonard in the 2021 free agency.

After suffering a first-round exit in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, it's crystal clear that rising superstar Luka Doncic isn't enough to help the Mavericks end their title drought. Though they currently have Kristaps Porzingis, they must be aware that they need to add another superstar to their roster in order to have a legitimate chance of capturing the Larry O'Brien Trophy next year.

Will Kawhi Leonard Choose The Mavericks As His Next Landing Spot?

Kawhi Leonard hugs Luka Doncic after the game
Gettyimages | Kevin C. Cox

The Mavericks aren't the only team that would aggressively pursue Leonard in the 2021 free agency. However, O'Connor believes that the presence of Luka Doncic in Dallas makes the Mavericks the "most serious threat" to acquire Leonard this summer.

"Dallas is considered by some executives to be the most serious threat to land Kawhi because of Luka Doncic’s presence and the front office’s ability to create maximum cap space or work out a sign-and-trade," O'Connor wrote. "During Leonard’s years with Nike, he also developed a good relationship with Nico Harrison, the Mavs’ new general manager and a former longtime executive at the company."

Kawhi Leonard's Fit Alongside Luka Doncic

It would certainly need time for two alpha males to mesh well on the court, but Leonard's experience of playing alongside the likes of Paul George and Kyle Lowry could speed up the process. Once they find the perfect chemistry, Leonard and Doncic would be unstoppable on both ends of the floor.

The potential arrival of Leonard in Dallas would ease the burdens on Doncic's shoulders, especially on the offensive end of the floor. He would give the Mavericks a prolific scorer, playmaker, rebounder, floor-spacer, and lockdown defender. This season, he averaged 24.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.6 steals while shooting 51.2 percent from the field and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc, ESPN.

Kawhi Leonard Turns Mavericks Into A Serious Contender

Kawhi Leonard finding an open lane
Gettyimages | Douglas P. DeFelice

To bring Leonard to Dallas, the Mavericks would be needing to renounce all their incoming free agents or engage in a sign-and-trade deal with the Clippers. Even it would require them to sacrifice some of their core players not named Doncic, signing Leonard would be worth it for the Mavericks.

Pairing Leonard with Doncic would turn the Mavericks from an average playoff team into a legitimate title contender in the Western Conference. The Doncic-Leonard tandem would put the Mavericks in the same conversation as other powerhouse teams in the league.