Which Team Is Best Positioned For A Kawhi Leonard Trade?

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

A year ago, the notion of a Kawhi Leonard trade seemed laughable.

Why would the Spurs ever trade a budding superstar? And why would a star want to leave a championship factory like the one in San Antonio?

Then he injured his right leg, and his relationship with the Spurs seemed to spiral in a way we’d never seen from one of sports’ most stable franchises.

Now, this:

Leonard doesn’t have a no-trade clause. But he will have some say in where the Spurs trade him. Because he’ll be a free agent in 2019, Leonard can relay to teams whether he’d be willing to re-sign or sign an extension with them. Those teams, or that team, would then be more inclined to outbid others for his services. The Celtics, for instance, arguably have the most trade assets, but they likely wouldn’t go all in without a guarantee from the player that he’d be there beyond the upcoming season.

One team might already have that promise from Kawhi.

Which should terrify the rest of the league, because if the Lakers can manage to include Luol Deng’s horrid contract in a trade that’d probably have to feature draft picks and two of if not all three of Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram, they could still have enough cap space to sign LeBron James and Paul George this offseason

That might explain Magic Johnson’s actions at a Lakers workout today.