You would think that one of the biggest sticking points with trading for San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard would be him not giving some kind of assurance to his new team that he would re-sign with them, or at least strongly consider it, when he can become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
However, as Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report writes Tuesday, that might not be the case.
“Nearly half a dozen GMs told Bleacher Report during the first weekend of the Las Vegas Summer League that they would trade for Leonard even without a guarantee he’ll stay beyond next season,” Bucher wrote.
Bucher cites Paul George re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer despite the constant rumors linking the superstar forward to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers as an example of why general managers might be OK with acquiring Leonard without a future commitment.
We don’t know which teams these general managers work for, but in regards to the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics — the three teams most often associated with Leonard in trade rumors — it makes little to no sense to give up anything of great value to acquire Leonard without knowing if he wants to re-sign.
For example, there’s no way the Celtics should part with promising forward Jaylen Brown in a potential trade for Leonard because if the former NBA Finals MVP walks in free agency, the C’s would have lost a young, talented wing under team control for a few more years with nothing to show for it. Same thing with the Lakers in regards to Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma and the 76ers with Markelle Fultz.
A recent report suggested the only Eastern Conference team Leonard would consider is the 76ers. If that’s true, the Celtics should not make a deal for Leonard unless the Spurs are willing to take a weaker trade package, and that doesn’t seem likely at all.
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