Kawhi's Trade Market is Running Thin

by Josiah Williams
by Josiah Williams

Who wants to pay top dollar for an abandoned house? Especially when the potential buyers know the owner needs to sell, the likely result will be a low-ball offer. Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs have become the abandoned house teams are hesitant to buy.

Kawhi Leonard has already expressed wanting to leave the team. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, Leonard met with Coach Popovich in San Diego to repair a damaged relationship. At the end of the meeting, he told him he wanted to go to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Leonard is still angry over the mishandling of his quad injury. He’s also upset about the comments made by Tony Parker and Popovich. In March, Parker told a reporter that he thought his injury was a hundred times worse than Leonard’s. He also credited San Antonio’s medical staff for being the best in the world. Michelle Beadle, the hostess of Get Up, went off on how Kawhi Leonard is handling things.

Despite the personality, many teams around the NBA would love to have Leonard on their roster. A short list of interested teams includes the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Sacramento Kings. Most recently, the Toronto Raptors were rumored to be in the mix as well.

The problem with Leonard’s trade market is his quad injury. He only played nine games this past season and no one has seen him play basketball since. Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report spoke with at least one Eastern Conference General Manager about the issue. “It seems like every other player is putting out a video on social media of them working out.”

The GM had more to say. “If Kawhi did one, he’d instantly get 35,000 hits, and half of them would be from NBA GMs. How can you make a deal or even an offer without knowing if he can play? He’s got to be seen.”

If one GM thinks that way, he is likely not the only one. Imagine buying a Tesla. That car gets into an accident but the owner won’t confirm whether it’s drivable or not. No one in their right mind would make that deal.

The Spurs high demands for a Kawhi’s services speaks to not only his value but the state of the franchise. Right now, the Spurs aren’t looking good on paper. They let Tony Parker sign with the Charlotte Hornets. Also, they didn’t match the Memphis Grizzles offer for Kyle Anderson.

Leonard’s preference for the Lakers is also hurting his market. Since most teams know where he wants to play, they won’t want to give up a ton of assets in exchange for a one-year rental. Even the Lakers, according to Wojnarowski, haven’t shown a sense of urgency to make a trade.

Outside of LaMarcus Aldrige, the Spurs don’t have a lot of building blocks. Manu Ginobili is aging and nearing retirement and Leonard is on his way out the door. As a result, the team is in dire need of young assets with potential.

Trading for a superstar with injury concerns and is difficult. Not committing long-term to a team making it even more troublesome. In the end, the Spurs may have to settle for a less than stellar offer.