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ESPN Names 5 "Mystery Teams" That Could Trade For Kawhi Leonard

A view of Kawhi Leonard crouching down from the side.

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs looks on during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Kawhi Leonard trade market is kind of murky at this point. The Spurs are asking for a big haul, understandably, in return for their All-NBA forward. So far, the team everyone's mentioning for this trade - the Lakers - is unwilling to come close to that package.

A couple of the other deemed "frontrunners" to trade for Leonard - Sixers, Celtics - aren't willing to give up their young assets for what could potentially be a one-year rental, either.

ESPN NBA expert Zach Lowe took a deep look at the situation today. He discussed the possibility of some "mystery teams" making a move for Leonard.

There are five that make some sense.

Toronto Raptors

"The most logical all-in play on the board is Toronto offering DeRozan, one of Pascal Siakam, Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, and OG Anunoby, and a future first-round pick. Upgrade from DeRozan to Leonard, and the Drakes have a real shot to make the Finals. Maybe Leonard would love Toronto, and enjoy playing in May and June in front of that nutty crowd," Lowe writes.

Washington Wizards

Lowe cannot see the Wizards giving up Bradley Beal, but "if the price gets as low as Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre, and some draft assets, the conversation probably changes."

Minnesota Timberwolves

"This is interesting. Wiggins is a divisive player. He probably carries negative trade value on his max-level deal. But he's 23 and undeniably skilled, and the Spurs still have a jones for midrange jumpers. Toss in a couple of picks, and the Wolves could make a compelling offer," he writes.

Miami Heat

"The Heat can put together a juicier package than you'd expect for capped-out mediocrity: Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo, and their pick in either 2019 or 2023 (or, if the former is unprotected, both). Pat Riley always hunts stars. The Heat believe in their culture, and the lure of South Beach. Depending on San Antonio's taste for Winslow, this is not uninteresting," he writes.

Denver Nuggets

"The Nuggets were ready to fling assets away for LeBron, so they have some appetite for a star-driven insta-team. But they presumably envisioned LeBron coming on a long-term contract. Harris alone doesn't move the needle enough, and the Nuggets don't have an obvious second player they'd send without some assurance from Leonard's camp," he writes.


You can view his full thoughts on more teams here.

At this point, it feels like Kawhi is going to remain a Spur until either the Lakers or the Sixers budge and give up some of their top young players. Or, maybe a surprise team - the Wizards with Beal, the Raptors with DeRozan - jumps into the mix.

San Antonio can be patient - for a couple of more months, at least. The Cavs rushed the Kyrie Irving situation last summer and everyone knows how that turned out. The Spurs are too smart to repeat that.