The Los Angeles Lakers are floated as a possible landing spot for almost every star player these days, but don’t write off their Staples Center roommates in a potential Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes.
A person with knowledge of the situation recently told USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick the Los Angeles Clippers are planning a trade package for Leonard in case the San Antonio Spurs ultimately decide to deal the polarizing forward this summer.
It’s been a very weird season for Leonard, considered one of the best two-way players in the NBA. He once seemed like a lock to sign a five-year, $219 million contract extension with San Antonio this July, but he has been sidelined since Jan. 13 with a mysterious quadriceps injury, despite being cleared by the Spurs’ medical team, and it’s seemingly causing friction within the organization.
Leonard is expected to miss the remainder of the NBA postseason, so there’s a chance he has played his final game with the Spurs. There will be no shortage of interest in Leonard if the Spurs field offers for the two-time All-Star, but the Clippers are an intriguing possibility.
Here’s what Amick wrote in a piece published over the weekend:
Landing Leonard — who grew up outside of Los Angeles in Moreno Valley, hails from San Diego State and is known to be a favorite of Clippers consultant Jerry West — would be well worth the hefty price it would take to get him. Maybe the Clippers offer their two first-round picks in this June’s draft, and whatever combination of other talent the Spurs want in return. And suddenly, they’re back in Western Conference contention again.
The Boston Celtics are another team that has been linked to Leonard on several occasions in recent weeks, largely because they’re on the cusp of contending for an NBA title and they have the type of assets the Spurs might find attractive. Of course, that’s mostly been speculation, though, whereas Amick’s report suggests the Clippers already are doing their homework.
Leonard, who turns 27 in June, was limited to just nine regular season games this season.
Thumbnail photo via Soobum Im/USA TODAY Sports Images