Now that the ridiculous asking price the San Antonio Spurs have in any Kawhi Leonard trade talkswith the Los Angeles Lakers has come to light, it makes more sense that we haven’t seen much movement on that front.
And it seems things don’t just seem quiet. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on SportsCenter that the talks actually are quiet, with the Lakers sounding like they’re holding off on making a huge offer until the Spurs stop asking for their entire chest of assets (emphasis mine):
“The Lakers now, in the way they’ve approached these trade talks with San Antonio, they’re kind of showing their hand that they may be willing to just wait until next summer in free agency. They’ve not made an overwhelming offer, they haven’t come close to meeting the threshold that the Spurs have, and the Spurs’ threshold for what they like.”
It also sounds like the reason the Spurs are having so much trouble getting any leverage back in the trade talks is because the Lakers and other interested teams have questions about Leonard’s health, while teams outside of the Lakers are still very much worried about Leonard ditching them for L.A. next summer:
“Boston, Philadelphia, the Lakers other teams who are interested there are a couple questions. Number one, the health: they don’t have access to his medical information, and even if you give a guy a physical, give Leonard a physical, until you see him back on the court, he was a top-five player before the injury. Will he be a top-10 or a top-15? Will his body respond? You don’t know until he’s back on the court, he only played nine games last year.
“And then teams like Boston, Philly and others they’re weighing the chances they have to re-sign him. Leonard has been very consistent privately that he wants to go to the Lakers, and so to take him on essentially as a rental, to give up players and picks for a player that’s going to leave after one year, Boston and Philly don’t have to take big risks like that.”
And because of all that uncertainty, Wojnarowski says the Spurs aren’t getting offered much:
“Philly has not offered anybody ... Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, they’re off limits. Boston’s only got their top-five players off-limits. Boston is more willing to do a deal that’s pick-heavy, but the Spurs want good players back, they don’t want to rebuild. They want picks and guys who can help them stay in the playoffs.”
The Spurs getting their desired package of good players and picks would seem to be unlikely at this point, especially if Leonard continues to make it clear he’ll only re-sign with the Lakers, making it impossible for the Spurs to leverage teams against each other in a bidding war.
As it stands now, it looks like the Spurs have two choices: Take an underwhelming offer from the Lakers, or lose Leonard for nothing. Until a third alternative presents itself — whether through a change in Leonard’s thinking or the Lakers’ — it seems the two sides might be at a stalemate for a while.