Reasons against trading for San Antonio Spurs Super-Star Kawhi Leonard

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 24: Kawhi Leonard
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 24: Kawhi Leonard /

The San Antonio Super-Star, Kawhi Leonard, is reportedly on his way out of the Alamo City. The Los Angeles Clippers have some things to consider before going after The Klaw.

Kawhi Leonard, when healthy is easily a top five player in the NBA. After a controversial injury in the Western Conference Finals in the 2017 Playoffs, the two time Defensive Player of the Year played on nine games for the San Antonio Spurs this season. Now, nearly a year after the injury, Leonard has gone AWOL, Derrick Rose style.

Leonard’s signature no-emotion personality makes it very difficult to read what he’s thinking. Reports came out recently, stating that the 26 year old finals MVP is healthy able to play, but holding out for a trade to a bigger market, such as New York, Philadelphia, or Los Angeles.

Considering he is from LA, that seems to be the most plausible location if he has any say. While he could be moved to the Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers could also put their name in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes. Most of the time, if a team can acquire a top five player, it should be their top priority. I feel the Clippers should trade for Leonard, but there are a couple of reasons why LAC should keep their distance from him.

Injury Concerns

The first concern that comes to mind is if he will be the same after recovering from the injury. Injuries can and have ruined careers. Again, Leonard is a top player in the league l, and his two-way skill set is priceless. This trade seems very tempting, but could be a mistake if Leonard’s elite play were to never return. In his brief playing time this season, Leonard was significantly worse than in previous seasons. He may have been rushed back from injury, but that is unknown. The front office must decide if they think he can contribute at the same level he has before.


The second concern is the price. If any top player is traded, you better bet that the dealing team will be getting back a hefty package. What do the Clippers have to give?

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Wesley Johnson isn’t wanted by any team and Danilo Gallinari, on his current contract, doesn’t have much value either. DeAndre Jordan is a consistent Defensive Player of the Year award, but is ineligible to be dealt, unless part of a sign-and-trade. Tobias Harris is likely a piece that San Antonio would target. Acquired in January, Harris has been fantastic for the Clippers, almost helping them clinch a playoff spot. Other young players, like Montrezl Harrell, Sam Dekker, Sindarius Thornwell, and Jawun Evans, could be side pieces in the deal. 

Lastly, the Spurs might try to take either part of our defensive backcourt, Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley, with Bradley being in trade rumors with the team before the February deadline. Both the Clippers and the Pistons (top four protected) picks could be targeted in the deal too.

The most likely trade that I can think of might look like this: Harris and both first rounders (if possible). Now, I’m no GM (not yet at least), but if you ask me, in this trade, the Clippers are giving up too much. Like stated before, Leonard might not be the same player he was from 2014-2017.

Potential Picks

Also, the draft lottery hasn’t taken place yet. The Clippers have had late lottery picks jump to the top (Kyrie Irving). It’s unlikely to happen again, but still could. Even if they aren’t high, late lottery picks are still valuable, as we could get a franchise changing player like Collin Sexton. Leonard himself was drafted 15th overall in 2011. Every star isn’t selected early and boy would there be egg on the face of our front office if the Spurs found a real gem with our picks.

In conclusion, I feel we should target The Klaw. However, we need to be very careful in making sure that we don’t give up too much for a star who may never be on the decline.