Report: Sixers Among Teams Interested in Kawhi Leonard
According to ESPN's NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers are one of two teams that have interest in Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, and the Celtics already made an offer at last year's trade deadline for Leonard.
While there are reports that the Spurs, have shown no interest in trading away their franchise player and intend to offer Leonard a five-year, $219 million extension in the summer of 2019.
But it is the NBA offseason and craziness can occur at any time.
Earlier this morning I was watching the new Get Up! show on ESPN. The discussion centered around if a deal of Ben Simmons for Kawhi Leonard would make sense.
While at first, it seems like a quick no, ask yourself if you think a combo of Kawhi Leonard and Joel Embiid is a better combo than Simmons and Embiid.
In reality the deal probably would be a good deal for the Sixers on the court - but there would be a lot of questions about the future, when Leonard can become a free agent next season.
ESPN.com NBA Front office insider Bobby Marks puts out another potential deal for Leonard, one that has been floated around before, with Leonard coming to Philly in exchange for Robert Covington, last year's No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and this year's 10th overall pick.
So would you do this deal:
76ers get: Kawhi Leonard and Derrick White
Bobby Marks: There are two questions that the 76ers' front office has to ask about this type of deal:
- Can they sign Leonard (or a similar player) as a free agent in 2019 using cap space without sacrificing assets?
- Are they confident Leonard will commit long term?
Before the first question is answered, Philadelphia will need to rely on coach Brett Brown and his relationship with Leonard from his days as an assistant in San Antonio. Because Philadelphia is restricted in what it can offer Leonard in an extension before free agency (four years, $107 million; six months after he is acquired), both sides would be relying on a handshake agreement before the trade is completed. Essentially, the Sixers would be risking three assets because they trust Leonard.
If the risk is warranted, Philadelphia would still have $26 million in room in 2018 and a lineup featuring Leonard, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid, plus its own first-round pick (No. 26). Philadelphia could also move veteranJerryd Bayless and its own first to a team with room and see its cap space increase to $34.3 million, good enough to target LeBron James or Paul George.
The 76ers can take the same approach and roll over room to 2019 with $28 million in space.
Remember, as the Lakers have learned, cap space is no guarantee of signing an All-NBA-level player. For San Antonio, trading Leonard would be the last resort if the relationship between the organization and player cannot be repaired.
This trade would accomplish three things for San Antonio: It would send Leonard to the Eastern Conference; the Spurs would remain competitive with three players who can help now; and the Spurs could have $27 million in 2019 to add players to surround LaMarcus Aldridge, Patty Mills, Murray, Fultz, Covington and two first-round picks in 2018 (the Lakers' first and their own).