A disgruntled Kawhi Leonard means the rumors about him opting out of his player option for next season will only intensify. If Leonard does decide to decline his 36 million dollar player option, the entire landscape of the NBA could change depending on who he signs with. There is also the potential for a sign and trade as well. Here are some of the best Kawhi Leonard free agent landings spots.
Kawhi Leonard Free Agent Destinations
Golden State Warriors
A sign and trade between the Clippers and cross-town rival Warriors seem unlikely to happen, but if Leonard is deadset on leaving, the Clippers may have to consider their offer. A popular trade package that has been discussed involving the Warriors has been James Wiseman, Andrew Wiggins, the 7th overall pick, and the 14th pick. With this trade, the Clippers could have their center of the future in Wiseman. They would also get back some of the draft capital they gave away in the Paul George deal. Leonard on the Warriors is a scary thought, as a duo of him and Stephen Curry would instantly make them favorites to win the title.
Los Angeles Lakers
In the summer of 2019, the Lakers moved heaven and earth to clear enough cap space to sign Kawhi Leonard. Two summers later, they get a chance at a redo. A big three of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard would form an invincible big three. In this scenario, Kawhi could stay in his home area of Los Angeles and still play basketball, as he wanted to do when he initially signed with the Clippers. With this move, Leonard could focus on what he does best, scoring and defense, and leave the playmaking to LeBron James. Similar to the Warriors scenario, the Lakers would vault to the top of the NBA’s elite with this move.
If Leonard doesn’t want to join a superteam, the next best alternative is to team up with the best young player in the league, Luka Doncic. There is a sign and trade scenario here involving Kristaps Porzingis, who the Mavericks want to unload. This way, the Clippers could get their (potential) dominant big man who is still young. The Mavericks, on the other hand, could get the superstar veteran presence they need to help Luka. Doncic’s ball-dominant playing style has hurt him in the postseason, as he has gotten tired late in games. A teammate that could relieve some of the scoring load would be just what the doctor ordered in Dallas.
If Kawhi Leonard tells the Clippers he wants out, the first team they should be calling is the 76ers. There is perhaps no player with higher upside on the trade block right now than Ben Simmons. A trade package involving Simmons and Tyrese Maxey would be a decent consolation prize for losing Leonard. For the 76ers, A Joel Embiid and Kawhi Leonard one-two punch would form one of the best duos in the league. The only caveat here is that Doc Rivers is the current coach of the 76ers. Remember, Rivers coached Leonard on the Clippers back in 2019-20 before getting fired. Because of the way their season ended, it may some convincing to get Leonard to trust Doc Rivers again.
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