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Windhorst: What The Spurs Want From Lakers In Kawhi Leonard Trade

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)

At this point, the San Antonio Spurs are widely expected to trade star Kawhi Leonard. It is just a matter of where they will send him.

The Los Angeles Lakers are thought to be one of two primary contenders for Leonard, along with the Boston Celtics. However, there appears to be some disconnect in what the Spurs want in return from LA and what the Lakers are willing to give up.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst, speaking on The Hoop Collective Podcast last night, said the Spurs want to "clean out the cupboard" in LA and are "basically looking for a Celtics-Nets-level trade."

Of course, that Celtics-Nets trade, which just turned five years old, is widely viewed as one of the worst in NBA history from a Brooklyn perspective. The Nets got back four players, including two aging Hall-of-Famers, in exchange for a boatload of picks.

Windhorst said San Antonio's desire for a major haul stems from the domino effect they think trading Kawhi to Los Angeles will start.

"From the way I understand it, the Spurs look at this potential trade not just as the Lakers trading for Kawhi, but as the Lakers trading for Kawhi and LeBron," Windhorst said. "Because they think if they send Kawhi that clinches they'll get LeBron."

However, the Lakers view Leonard as a "distressed asset" according to Windhorst, largely because he will leave San Antonio anyway next year as an unrestricted free agent.

Therefore, they are hesitant to trade too much for the 27-year-old star.

"We'll give you legitimate pieces, but we're not sending the entire team out there and our whole future out there," Windhorst said of the Lakers' thinking. "That bridge, whether or not they can close that, will determine if there is a trade."

You can listen to the full Hoop Collective pod here.

NBA free agency starts tomorrow. Things are already heating up.