Kawhi Leonard has reportedly asked to be traded and wants out of San Antonio. He missed all but nine games this past season due to a quadriceps injury, with his status questioned throughout the year. So having the Lakers pick up a top-tier player would immediately upgrade them into a playoff squad.
The bombshell report comes a day after Tim Duncan and Popovich reportedly met with Leonard in NY to convince him to come back.
Leonard could receive a five-year, $219 million contract extension from the Spurs this summer.More news: Ronaldo: Best hat-trick of my career
Various reports over the last few months indicated the sides disagreed about the nature of Leonard's injury, how to treat it and how soon he would be able to return to the floor. In the latter scenario, they could clear enough cap space to make a super team of Kawhi, PG13, and LeBron. The Spurs don't seem to be in any hurry, but the likelihood of Leonard staying is minimal.
But if the Suns do make the trade, a one-two punch of Leonard and Devin Booker would certainly be interesting and the Suns could become an emerging contender in the Western Conference if Leonard re-signs. But for that to happen, the Lakers would have to trade someone of value. Articles were written about which team made the most sense.
Leonard's representatives have expressed his interest in playing for a big market, such as Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and NY. Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier are examples of potential players that the Spurs may be interested in if the Celtics assumingly aren't willing to consider trading Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward. The Lakers would have a tough time competing with that offer. Something like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Luol Deng, the 25th pick in this year's draft and a future first-round pick for Leonard and Patty Mills would work money-wise. He's a week removed from his eighth consecutive Finals and fourth with the Cavs.