Why the Clippers Should Not Trade for Kawhi Leonard

SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 18:(EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) A shot of Kawhi Leonard
SAN ANTONIO, TX - DECEMBER 18:(EDITORS NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white.) A shot of Kawhi Leonard /

NBA news outlets across the country are going crazy, as Kawhi Leonard informed the San Antonio Spurs he wishes to be traded.

Ah, the NBA off-season. There’s truly nothing like it, is there?

With the NBA Draft, trades and free-agent signings, the long months of summer keep NBA fans entertained on a daily basis. The NBA Draft is a week away, but we got ourselves a dose of NBA news that has fans salivating at the mouth.

According to sources all over the NBA, Kawhi Leonard has requested a trade from the San Antonio Spurs.

This really doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Last season, Leonard appeared in only nine games with San Antonio. However, those nine games were nowhere close to the biggest storyline. Throughout the season, Leonard came out and spoke of his displeasure with how the Spurs were handling his injury. Nobody really knew what was going on over there, and we still don’t.

What we do know, is that it was bad enough for Kawhi to request a trade.

Not only has he requested a trade, he’s listed where his preffered destination is.

Leonard is from Los Angeles, so a homecoming makes more than enough sense. Though the Lakers will be the favorites to land him, don’t quite count out the Clippers.

Now, with the Clippers reportedly making a potential trade package for the All-Star, the question looms.

Should they do it?

There’s no question that when healthy, Kawhi Leonard is one of the best players in the NBA. He’s arguably the best defensive player in the league, and has added an impressive offensive game over the last few seasons. He’s only 26 years-old, and is a difference-maker when he’s on the court.

Who wouldn’t want a player of that caliber?

Don’t get me wrong. I would absolutely be thrilled if the Clippers would be able to pull off a trade for Leonard. He would make the Clippers an instant playoff team. However, I think it may be in their best interest to stay put, and continue rebuilding their team.

A player like Leonard only comes around in trade offers every so often. Therefore, the asking price will be a steep one. It’s unclear what the Spurs will be asking for yet, but we can assume it will be a lot. More than likely, a potential trade would require the Clippers to part ways with both of their lottery picks. I know, I know. They are the No. 12 & No. 13 picks. However, the Clippers desperately need to get younger and rebuild. Rookie-of-the-year favorite Donovan Mitchell was taken No. 13 last year.

I’m not saying the Clippers are going draft a Donovan Mitchell, but you have TWO chances to draft two potential superstars.

Also more than likely, a player or two will need to be included. Tobias Harris is likely, as he has a year left on his contract and has proved he can score in this league. Showing signs of improvement the last few years, Harris could be on his way to becoming a 20 points per game scorer in the NBA.

Okay, okay. So two lottery picks and Tobias Harris for Kawhi Leonard. You have to do it! It’s a no-brainer! Isn’t it?

They Shouldn’t Do It

As previously mentioned, Leonard would make the Clippers a playoff team. But a playoff team is the best they would be. I truly don’t believe Kawhi would make the Clippers a threat to come out of the Western Conference. Could they compete? Sure. Could they beat the Warriors and Rockets? I don’t think so.

Sure, the Clippers could make some moves and become a better team, but I just don’t think they would have enough to take down either team. Another reason I’m hesitant, is the fact Leonard only has one year left on his contract. After next season, he can opt out, and become a free-agent. Why risk two future players and a talent like Harris, if you’re only going to get one season from Kawhi? Is is worth that big of a risk?

Personally, I don’t think so.

Sure, he could end up loving being a Clipper, and the team could make a deep playoff run to convince him to resign. If that were the case, that would be amazing. But at the moment, I just can’t see it.

The Clippers are in a tough position right now. They have enough talent where they can compete for a playoff spot, but they don’t have enough for a playoff run. I think they need to continue to rebuild, add two more young pieces to the mix, and work on the upcoming season. If healthy, this current Clippers team is a playoff team, in my opinion.

Overall, I would be ecstatic if Kawhi become an LA Clipper. It would make the team better, and give them a better chance to compete for the title. Would it be worth longterm risk? We’ll just have to wait and see.