The 76ers move into the NBA’s free agency period with as much a chance to sign a superstar as any team.
It’s been a roller coaster ride, to say the least, these last few weeks. Sixers fans have talked themselves into their team signing LeBron James, Chris Paul, Paul George, and trading for stars like Leonard. And, why not? It makes complete sense because the Sixers would be able to afford putting together a monster team alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. And if James signs elsewhere, the second-best option, to some, would be to somehow land Leonard, who’s on the outs with the San Antonio Spurs.
And, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Sixers have already made offers for the star. But they’re not alone.
The Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers and LA Clippers are among teams who’ve made offers to the Spurs for Leonard, league sources said. The Lakers, the franchise that Leonard wants to be traded to, did not have a good initial conversation with the Spurs, ESPN reported recently.
While the Lakers came away feeling like San Antonio “shut the door on us” and the conversation never progressed or included a formal trade offer, the Spurs haven’t ruled out sending Leonard to any destination, league sources said.
If Leonard can convince the rest of the NBA interested in trading for him that he’ll only be a one-year rental before signing with Los Angeles in 2019, the Lakers could have the most compelling trade package to offer San Antonio.
Each team listed above has a very real chance of landing Leonard. The Celtics have many cards to deal, and the Cavs don’t have anything to lose by going after him in hopes to get LeBron to stay.
However, if Leonard truly is set on heading to Los Angeles after next season, a trade with the Spurs may not be worth it to any of the teams. If a team that he’s dealt to that’s not the Lakers could somehow coerce him into signing a long-term deal with them, then it’d be a worthy investment. But just one season of Leonard, giving away many chips on the table might be the wrong move for Brett Brown to make.
Rumors have been flowing that the Spurs wouldn’t want to send Leonard to a Western Conference team, and I understand that logic. But if a Western Conference team is the team that’s giving the best deal, it’d be stupid for the Spurs to pass it up. Which is why the Lakers remain very much in the discussion, especially if they can land LeBron and Paul, which seems to be a growing sentiment among many. If you’d ask me right now, I’d say Leonard winds up with the Lakers this off-season.
Then again, anything can happen, and this time of year is one of the most interesting. So many moving pieces.
You can follow Nick Piccone on Twitter (@nickpiccone) and Instagram (@picconenick), and e-mail him at email@example.com. Subscribe to The Straight Shooters Podcast (@ShootersRadio) on iTunes here and listen every Friday afternoon at 2:00 P.M. on Wildfire Radio. Click here to read his pro wrestling articles on PhillyVoice.