As the offseason carries on, traction on any Kawhi Leonard trade seems to have dwindled. With his injury and reported desire to be in Los Angeles in 2019, the Spurs have not been able to command the bidding war they need in order to get the kind of deal they desire.
Meanwhile, Leonard’s health is still under question as the forward missed all but nine games last seasons with a quad injury that was diagnosed differently by Spurs trainers and Leonard’s own doctors. The star forward seems to be getting healthy, however, as according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, he is weighing a decision to attend the Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas later this month.
San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard is seriously considering participation in the USA Basketball national team’s minicamp in Las Vegas next week, an event for the embattled All-NBA forward to showcase the status of his recovery to prospective trade partners, league sources told ESPN.
Leonard holds some enthusiasm for showcasing his revitalized health in the wake of the quad injury that has been at the center of discord between the Spurs and him, sources said. The question being debated, sources said, is whether participating in the Team USA camp will ignite trade talks that deliver him to his preferred destination — the Los Angeles Lakers — or give the Spurs more cause to hold onto Leonard and push him to report to training camp in September.
The news serves to inform the public that Leonard seems to be healthy, or at least close to it, in the wake of his nearly season-long absence from the Spurs. However, it also holds significance as this camp will be the first led by San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich as he takes over for Team USA.
Leonard and Popovich met earlier this offseason in Southern California where Leonard reportedly made it clear that he would not return to the Spurs and would prefer to be traded to the Lakers. It’s unclear whether Popovich would use this opportunity to attempt to mend relationships with the disgruntled star.
Lakers’ forward LeBron James in unlikely to attend the camp as reported on Monday by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
Trade talks for Leonard have dwindled but continued, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, with a host of teams engaging in talks with the Spurs. Every team remains cautious, however, as ESPN reports that the Blazers have not offered Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum, the 76ers have not offered Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons or Markelle Fultz, and the Celtics have not offered Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward or Al Horford.
The Lakers have seemingly remained patient with a strong belief that Leonard would sign with the team next July when he can be a free agent should he opt out of his contract.
It does not appear that any resolution is near but Team USA camp could serve to give some more information to teams cautious about trading for Leonard.