For many teams, a potential Kawhi Leonard trade hinges on the star forward’s health. With his current contract ending after next season, and an injury costing him all but a few games last season, acquiring him is a serious risk.
Leonard can alleviate at least one of those concerns next week. NBA general managers have reportedly expressed concern about trading for him given the lack of evidence of his health.
According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, Leonard is leaning towards participating in a USA Basketball camp in Las Vegas next week. That is good news for Spurs fans who hold onto hope that they can keep Leonard, as Gregg Popovich coaches that team.
However, it can also help the Spurs open up more suitors for a trade, if Kawhi looks healthy and ready to play to start next season. From ESPN:
San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard is seriously considering participation in the USA Basketball national team’s minicamp in Las Vegas next week, an event for the embattled All-NBA forward to showcase the status of his recovery to prospective trade partners, league sources told ESPN.
There’s an eagerness among prospective teams to see Leonard on the floor before committing significant trade assets to him. Rival executives considered Leonard a top-five player in the NBA prior to last season, but he didn’t play to that level in his brief nine-game regular-season return as he continued to recover from the injury.
Even before seeing him play, a number of teams are looking into a Kawhi Leonard trade.
According to the ESPN report, that list includes the most common names—the Celtics, Lakers, and 76ers—as well as the Clippers, Nuggets, Raptors, Suns, Trail Blazers, and Wizards. If Kawhi looks like his old self at camp, perhaps these teams could pony up more.
The Spurs are looking for a giant haul, including stars, young players, and draft picks. The Raptors could provide the three, potentially moving one of their two all-star guards in a trade, but Cris Carter, who is tapped into Kawhi’s camp, insists that he will not end up in Toronto, and that his hope remains that one of the Los Angeles franchises can get it done.