The Kawhi Leonard injury saga has had a wide-ranging effect on the 2017-18 NBA season, as his inability/refusal to return from a right quadriceps injury has taken the San Antonio Spurs from potential NBA Finals contenders to a team that likely will get booted from the first round of the playoffs.
And it appears that Leonard’s disconnect with head coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs could have an impact on the free-agent class this summer, namely LeBron James.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst went on Monday’s episode of “SportsNation” and said that James’ future could be directly tied to what happens to Leonard this offseason, noting that the two could opt to team up, or that a team on James’ radar could acquire Leonard instead of pursuing the Cleveland Cavaliers star.
“The Los Angeles Lakers should be having meetings right now about what trade packages they’re going to offer the Spurs the day after the Spurs’ season is over, which could be shortly,” Windhorst said. “Look people are paying attention to free agency, but there’s more ways to get players than just free agency, you can trade for them.”
Windhorst noted that if James and the Cavs get bounced early in the playoffs, the star could look to contact Leonard and discuss joining forces.
“If the Cavs get knocked out before the Finals and LeBron has six weeks to think (about) it and six weeks to get in touch with Kawhi then things could get a little crazy,” Windhorst continued. “But just think about Philadelphia, for example, I can construct you a way that Philadelphia could trade for Kawhi Leonard and sign LeBron James. That possibility exists.
“What happens to Kawhi, whether he gets moved and goes to place and LeBron comes with him, or he goes to a place where maybe LeBron was looking at, like Philly. Like maybe Philly trades for Kawhi and then doesn’t need LeBron and uses the cap space somewhere else. Or let’s say (the Lakers) somehow trade — Kawhi goes to the Spurs and says ‘trade me to LA.’ LA trades a whole bunch of their pieces to get Kawhi, they don’t now need Paul George to get LeBron.”
James and Leonard teaming up would be the thing of nightmares for opposing offenses and would make either the Lakers or 76ers an immediate NBA Finals favorite along with the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.
Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images