LeBron James officially signed with the Lakers. The latest batch of rookies have been strutting their stuff in Las Vegas. The NBA is just waiting to find out where Kawhi Leonard will be headed this season.
Kawhi Leonard, through his representatives, has made it clear that he wants out of the San Antonio Spurs. His relationship with the organization deteriorated in 2017-18 while he was recovering from a lingering hamstring injury. It got to the point that his people hid him from Spurs execs while he was rehabbing in New York. It’s safe to say that that bridge has completely burned down.
The thing is, Leonard is entering the fourth season of the five-year deal he signed with the Spurs in 2015. He is set to make just over $20 million (base salary) in 2018-19. Leonard’s contract has a player option in 2019, allowing him to opt out. The Spurs are expected to move Leonard sometime this season but they have been doing their due diligence and have been taking their time to explore all options and trade partners. Ideally, they would prefer to send Leonard to an Eastern Conference team, but Leonard has reportedly expressed interest in playing in Los Angeles. There have been conflicting reports though, with some rumors speculating that Leonard does not want to go to the Lakers and play second fiddle to LeBron James.
So far, Leonard has been linked to the Clippers, the Sixers, and most recently the Raptors. While it may seem that the Spurs have all the cards at this point, they are still working on a clock. They will do their best to get something for Leonard, rather than nothing if he exercises his player option.
As one of the world’s most talented two-way players, Leonard would make an instant impact for any team he lands with. His eventual departure from the Spurs will reshape the league once again. Until then, the waiting game continues as we all eagerly await to find out where he will land.