The Los Angeles Clippers could be in the mix for Kawhi Leonard, and they appear to have their starting point in any trade talks.
It seems fairly certain Kawhi Leonard will not be back with the San Antonio Spurs, as much as the team is willing to cede to his reported desire to be traded. Leonard reportedly prefers Los Angeles as his next landing spot, and if the Lakers can’t put together a suitable trade the Clippers are the other option to bring him back home.
On that note, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times has reported the Clippers are willing to offer a trade package involving forward Tobias Harris and either the No. 12 or No. 13 pick in this week’s draft. She reported further regarding the Lakers and Clippers both being concerned about Leonard’s right quad injury, which limited him to nine games this past season and is the root of his frayed relationship with the Spurs.
The Spurs don’t have to trade Leonard, and they may not want to send him to a Western Conference team. There have been indications Gregg Popovich does not want to trade Leonard to the Lakers, and that’s probably ramped up now as they may eye building a super-team with LeBron James and/or Paul George to go with Leonard.
Harris and one of their first-round picks on Thursday night would be a starting point for the Clippers in any trade talks involving Leonard. Some combination of guard Patrick Beverley, forward Danilo Gallinari and forward Sam Dekker would have to be on the table too, or including both 2018 first-round picks could get San Antonio’s attention.
Trade speculation involving Leonard is set to ramp up this week, and it will be an undercurrent to Thursday night’s draft proceedings. A significant trade was made on draft night in 2017, with Jimmy Butler going to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Leonard could be the big name on the move this year.