While the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly are Leonard’s preferred destination, you might be able to add another team to the sweepstakes. In a recent column for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor identified the Phoenix Suns, who own the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, as a likely suitor for the 26-year-old.
“Several league sources told me they anticipate Suns general manager Ryan McDonough to probe a Leonard deal using the No. 1 pick,” O’Connor writes. “Phoenix explored (Kyrie) Irving trades last summer but was reluctant to deal Josh Jackson, whom they selected with the fourth overall pick. Leonard is better than Irving, so perhaps it’s time for the Suns to strike now, when they’re armed with assets and an opportunity to trade for a transcendent player. There’s also a sense from league sources that the Suns presumed selection of Arizona big man Deandre Ayton at No. 1 isn’t a guarantee because of the outside possibility that they’ll get a good enough deal to trade down or out of the draft entirely.”
With the No. 1 pick involved, this is a trade the Spurs certainly shoulder consider. The deal would allow San Antonio to replace Leonard with (hopefully) the next face of the franchise, along with other assets Phoenix provides. It also might be wise of Gregg Popovich and Co. to strike while the iron is hot, as Leonard can opt of out his contract at next season’s end.
If the star wingman truly is dead set on departing San Antonio, it would be wise to sell high sooner rather than settle for a lesser return closer to the deadline. Or even worse, lose Leonard for nothing at all.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
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