Kawhi Leonard is requesting a trade out of San Antonio and while a trade with the New York Knicks is unlikely, they are in the conversation.
Kawhi Leonard’s last season was remarkably odd. There was serious friction between Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs that led to teams around the league fantasizing about acquiring the superstar. The New York Knicks were no exception.
Now, according to reports from Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, Leonard wants to be traded.
Kawhi Leonard wants out from the San Antonio Spurs, league sources tell Yahoo.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 15, 2018
And not only does Kawhi want out, Ian Begley of ESPN is reporting that people close to Leonard hope to see him wind up in New York.
There are more than a few teams who can offer a better package to San Antonio for Kawhi than the Knicks can (assuming they don’t include Porzingis), but people close to Leonard have expressed a desire for Leonard to play in New York, per sources. https://t.co/CTs0ISkKXv
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 15, 2018
As Begley states, the Knicks would have a difficult time putting together an appealing package for Gregg Popovich and the Spurs, but this is just enough to tease Knicks fans.
You have to think that any deal involving Kristaps Porzingis is a non-starter for Scott Perry and Steve Mills. If you’re trading for Kawhi, it’s to pair him with Porzingis. The Knicks are not in a position to compete for a title and while Leonard is one of the best in the NBA when healthy, the Knicks would need a lot more around him to be a real threat in the Eastern Conference.
Regardless of what a Kawhi-led Knicks team would look like, it’s probably not going to happen. League sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Kawhi is interested in both teams in Los Angeles—Lakers and Clippers. But Wojnarowski also points out that Leonard leaving the Spurs is not set in stone.
Sources: So far, Leonard has expressed nothing directly to Spurs about future. Lakers and Clippers interest Leonard — and both teams would move quickly to assemble packages to acquire Leonard. Spurs won't rush. Leonard and his camp had shown interest in $219M super max deal.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 15, 2018
It appears as if Leonard has pushed all of his chips to the center of the table. Now, everyone is forced to play the waiting game.