Kawhi Leonard won’t be playing in San Antonio next season, but joining the Brooklyn Nets doesn’t look likely.
The biggest news of the offseason came when we learned that Kawhi Leonard is seeking a trade out of San Antonio. A lot of teams will call about Leonard, but the Brooklyn Nets won’t be one of them.
According to Brian Lewis of the New York Post:
Brooklyn is unlikely to be in the sweepstakes for Kawhi Leonard, despite his affinity for New York and GM Sean Marks’ good relationship with Leonard’s uncle/advisor from his time in San Antonio.
This isn’t surprising news. The Nets don’t have a lottery pick this year to trade and after being devoid of picks for so long, they probably want to hold onto them.
Leonard—if healthy—instantly turns the Nets into a playoff contender, but just how good would they be around him? Probably not good enough to be a legitimate title contender.
Brooklyn isn’t rushing this rebuild and trading away precious assets for Leonard would be a shortcut that they can’t afford to take. It’s similar to the situation across town for the Knicks, but at least the Knicks would be able to pair Leonard with Kristaps Porzingis. The Nets don’t have a legitimate star for Leonard to play alongside.
A lot of teams are going to be looking to acquire Leonard so the asking price from San Antonio is likely to be steep. For Brooklyn, bowing out of the Leonard sweepstakes and allowing other teams to duke it out is their best course of action.
If they were to go after Leonard it would show that they might be too concerned with escaping irrelevancy and allowing that to hamper their long-term plans.