One of the most bizarre stories in the NBA over the past season has been Kawhi Leonard’s relationship with the San Antonio Spurs. Last week, it was reported that Leonard informed the Spurs he wants to be traded and that his preferred destination is the Lakers.
Things seem bleak in San Antonio and there’s not much room for hope. Spurs’ big man Pau Gasol thinks the same, as he recounted his pessimism to Spanish media site EpDeportes (h/t Jeff Garcia of News 4 San Antonio):
“I do not know if the situation can be rectified after Kawhi’s request to leave, I do not know if a multi-million dollar offer would fix it, he has not talked to him for a long time, he’s a very reserved player.”
That doesn’t sound like good news for the Spurs, who are reportedly holding out hope that Leonard will consider.
The Spurs are standing firm on trade offers as there reportedly has not been any traction on proposals. They are also reportedly refusing to trade Leonard within the Western Conference and “shut the door” on any Lakers proposals before terms were even discussed.
But Leonard’s insistence on being traded may force the Spurs’ hands. San Antonio would risk losing the forward for nothing if they do not trade him before the February deadline. Moreover, the longer the wait, the less other teams will be willing to trade for a potential rental of Leonard if he is indeed insistent on signing with the Lakers in 2019.
For now, the Lakers will have to remain patient to see how the situation plays out. But there is room for some optimism due to Gasol’s comments.