Kawhi Leonard is the league’s best two-way player — when healthy. The latter of that statement has haunted Leonard for what feels like decades now. “The Claw” is ridden with continuous, pesky injuries that just won’t seem to go away — happens to the best of us, right, Stephen Curry?
For someone who seemingly speaks fewer words than a mime, the San Antonio’s Spurs silent killer has had his fair share of drama surrounding his injuries. A majority of the hype surrounding Leonard’s setbacks are grounded in the team, leaving the rest of us wondering if the bad blood in Texas has reached a boiling point? And if so, will their once heart and soul of the team be traded off to another organization?
It is hard to see Leonard on another roster that isn’t San Antonio’s. The humble team play, the silent aura surrounding him, the determination in his demeanor, it all speaks directly to the established Spurs franchise.
Nonetheless, San Antonio has arguably the most envied basketball culture in the entire NBA, and for the first time — in over a quarter of a century — there is friction surrounding their All-Star player. Going 25 years with nothing but effective — yet poised — Hall of Famers is something no other franchise can accredit themselves with. From David Robinson, to Tim Duncan, to Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker and LaMarcus Aldridge the Spurs simply speak class. Having an organization that is known for its calm waters find themselves in a media scuffle, might just be what pushes Leonard right out the door.
So, let’s just say that this two-time Defensive Player of the Year gets a ticket to anywhere in the NBA.
Where’s he headed? And, more importantly, who for?
There is a lot of speculation of where Leonard would head; however, TSMC has nailed down the top four teams that would make the most sense:
Boston receives: Kawhi Leonard
Leonard was born into a dominant franchise, it would make sense for him to stay in one. The Celtics have always been competitors in the league, just like the Spurs, so for this NBA Champion to take his likes to a place that is easily bound for a ring if he joins, it would simply just make sense.
Brad Stevens is an excellent head coach for Boston, and he stresses the similar likes of Leonard’s current head coach Gregg Popivach. Leonard, a four-time All-Defensive player, would feed off of Steven’s defense, and, with an already dominant backcourt, the Celtics could turn into one of the most lethal defensive teams in the league.
Milwaukee receives: Kawhi Leonard
The Bucks are an up and coming team that is completely flooded with young prospects. Milwaukee would need Leonard, more than Leonard would need Milwaukee; however, this is Leonard’s chance to be that silent leader he wants to be. All the Claw wants to do is go out there and play some basketball, nothing extra, he’ll let his stats do the talking. So, considering that much, he would be a perfect pairing with the Bucks only All-Star, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo is a dominant, extrovert out on the floor. He does let his stats do the talking as well, but, as he gains experience, he will become the direct leader Milwaukee is shaping him to be.
With Leonard in Milwaukee, he would aid tremendously to their lack of effort on defense and lack of poise and control on offense.
Philadelphia receives: Kawhi Leonard
The Sixers would be a gold mine for Leonard. Landing a spot in Philadelphia is almost another guarantee ring with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid by his side. With age, this team would only grow more strong and more determined.
However, would it work?
Could this trio of completely different personalities, yet all uniquely their own best player, actually work? Make the trade happen Philly, I’m willing to take the risk.
Los Angeles receives: Kawhi Leonard
San Antonio receives: whoever they want…
While this is the most widely popular trade for Leonard, is it worth it? LA would basically have to get rid of every one of their guys on their roster, and develop years of rebuilding a franchise no one wants to be apart of right now.
Although it’s near to home for Leonard, it is not the best option on this list, and the guys San Antonio would receive will probably not even be worth it.
No matter where Leonard goes, the guy has yet to show us what he can really do. Still not even in the average “prime” age for NBA players, the Claw has the rest of his career to recover and stay in San Antonio, or move around to start a new and snag another ring or build an empire.