It is no secret that Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio, but reports indicate that he may have had a change of heart in his desired trade destination.
It has been widely known around the NBA that Leonard has wanted a trade to Los Angeles, and he still intends to play in Staples Center, just maybe not for the Lakers.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports said that “One thing that’s been made abundantly clear. I’m going to stress this. There’s no guarantee if Kawhi Leonard hits the market next summer that he’s going to sign with the Lakers, period. I think his options have broadened a little bit, just inside L.A. There’s another team, obviously, in L.A. I think he’d be very much open to the Clippers.”
While it seems a little far-fetched to think that a superstar like Kawhi would rather join the rebuilding Clippers than the LeBron-laden Lakers, but the 2-time Defensive Player of the Year isn’t exactly thrilled about the idea of playing with another All-Star.
He wants to make a name for himself and be the face of his own franchise, a feat that is hard to accomplish with LeBron James on your team. Leonard recognizes that the Lakers are LeBron’s team, but the Clippers, on the other hand, are still searching for their franchise cornerstone.
During one of Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcasts supported this assertion when analyzing the drama surrounding the disgruntled star:
“I’ve been told that one of the reasons why he looks at going to the Clippers or is a little less motivated is I think initially the idea of L.A. was fine to him. He preferred the Lakers but was open to the Clippers. But now that LeBron is in L.A., I think the idea of going head-to-head with LeBron, to have (Kawhi) with the Clippers, him with the Lakers, and to maybe feel dwarfed by that, I’m told that’s become far less appealing to him.”
Unlike the current trend that has been set by the league’s best, Leonard does not want to join a super team. He wants to find one organization that will treat him with respect and support his playing career rather than teaming up with other superstars to win a championship. A championship, I might add, that isn’t worth much if you need three or four of the best players in the NBA to get it.
Although the Clippers and Kawhi seem to be a good fit, the Clippers don’t have much to offer San Antonio. It is common knowledge around the league that the asking price for Leonard is very high, and LAC may not have the talent on their roster to get Kawhi in a Clipper uniform. People within the Spurs organization confirmed this, saying “Yeah he wants to go to the Clippers, but their assets are sh*t at this point.”
With the Spurs asking for the farm for Kawhi and his pickiness regarding his next potential team, it seems as though there are a lot of roadblocks to getting a deal done. San Antonio is determined to move on from Leonard as they understand their relationship cannot be repaired, but they will either have to lower their asking price to unload the 2-time All-Star or put up with an angry star for another season until he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2019.
Both sides agree it is time for a separation, but how this story plays out remains to be seen.
Featured Image Via Flickr/Jose Garcia