The Kawhi Leonard saga continues to get stranger with no end in sight. The San Antonio Spurs superstar played nine games this season amidst mysterious injuries and rumors of separation between him and Spurs coaches and front office executives.
As offseason rumors begin to heat up, the Los Angeles Lakers are among teams linked to Leonard as people around the NBA attempt to figure out how the situation is unfolding.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Spurs are beginning to become concerned about Leonard’s immediate future in San Antonio:
Multiple league sources also told ESPN that the Spurs have grown worried that Leonard’s group has an ulterior motive to fray the relationship and get Leonard traded to a larger market such as Los Angeles (Leonard’s hometown) or New York or Philadelphia (Robertson lives in New Jersey).
One source close to Buford said the longtime executive admitted to him that he’s constantly losing sleep over how and why the relationship with Leonard has disintegrated.
It’s no surprise that the Lakers have greased the wheels on a potential trade for the 2019 free agent. He’s from Los Angeles and reportedly may want to move to a bigger market in hopes of signing huge endorsement deals that are not as readily available in San Antonio. The Lakers also have oodles of cap space and the ability to potentially partner Leonard with another star who hypothetically might be upset about a hypothetical first-round defeat in the playoffs in his first season playing with a hypothetically tough to manage personality.
That all said, the Lakers will always be linked in these situations because of the leverage it creates for players and agents. That’s not to say the team is not interested; they most certainly are. But Leonard’s desire to leave San Antonio and a potential interest in returning to his hometown are both hypothetical concerns right now.
There’s some smoke in San Antonio right now. But whether there’s an accompanying fire or not is another question.