Windhorst: Raptors may be in ‘driver’s seat’ in Kawhi Leonard talks

Annette Crawford
July 17, 2018

When it became clear Leonard and the Spurs had reached a breaking point in their relationship, and Leonard's camp suggested he won't step in the San Antonio locker room again, three teams were front-and-centre in early trade rumours.

The Spurs have reportedly fielded calls from several teams interested in trading for Leonard, but a deal has not been reached, largely in part due to teams not willing to trade for the all-star forward with the public knowledge he wants to leave to Los Angeles next summer via free agency.

"I think they're in the driver's seat for Kawhi because I think the Lakers have given up, the Sixers have given up", Windhorst said.

Kawhi Leonard might be heading north for the season.

But the Toronto Raptors emerged as surprise favourites to sign the 2014 NBA Finals MVP last week and Windhorst believes they are the only team now eyeing a trade with San Antonio. Leonard was one of 35 players invited to participate in the camp, which will be led by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Leonard would not be super max eligible as a free agent with the new team acquiring him even if he earned All-NBA honors in 2018-19. Leonard also indicated in June that the Lakers were one of his preferred destinations. That means no Kyrie Irving, no Gordon Hayward, no Al Horford, and certainly no Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum.

"If the Spurs are losing deal leverage", Wojnarowski and Shelburne write, "they aren't operating in a manner that suggests they're peddling a depreciating asset".

According to a report by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Romana Shelburne, the Celtics did not offer up any of their five-best players for Leonard.

What would make for a "sizeable return" in the eyes of the Spurs, you ask?

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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