Kawhi Leonard trade rumors: San Antonio Spurs star wants to be traded

Kawhi Leonard wants to be traded

Modal Trigger Kawhi Leonard AP

Reports from other news organizations have linked the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers as possible landing spots for the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

Leonard's future with the Spurs is now unclear after a freakish year that saw him make just nine appearances under Gregg Popovich due to a mystery quadriceps injury.

Leonard averaged 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game in the 2016-17 season.

On Friday, ESPN's Chris Haynes reported that there is distrust between Leonard and the Spurs and that the relationship may be "irreparable". He is eligible to receive a five-year, $219 million supermax contract this summer, but his discontent with the Spurs has put that potential extension in jeopardy. ESPN reported in May that it began last summer when Leonard's quad injury lingered and he wanted to pursue new rehab methods. It's also unclear if the Spurs would be willing to trade Leonard to the Lakers or to any team at all. With that being said, if the Spurs were to make Leonard available for team through a trade, it looks like the Sixers would have to face some tough competition for the star forward as well, meaning the next month or so could get real interesting really fast. The Spurs don't seem to be in any hurry, but the likelihood of Leonard staying is minimal.

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Perhaps a deal involving the No. 1 overall pick, Jackson and another asset would be enough to persuade San Antonio to trade their best player. But for that to happen, the Lakers would have to trade someone of value. If the reports are indeed true, the request makes for perhaps the biggest drama the Spurs franchise has seen in more than two decades. In that scenario, assuming James and George signed as free agents, Los Angeles would only have them, Leonard, and Deng under contract. Also, the Lakers don't have the appealing picks that a team like Boston does now, which could also play a factor.

The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has played his entire career with the Spurs since being drafted with the 15th pick of the 2011 National Basketball Association draft.

Wherever Leonard does end up though, if he were to depart San Antonio, it could become key in creating a super team challenger to the Golden State Warriors, who swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals last week for their third championship in four years.

As for James, he's spending time with family and mulling where he wants to play - next season and beyond.

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