LeBron James Free Agency: Cavaliers contact Spurs for Kawhi Leonard
What's the story?
In case you didn't know
On Friday morning, June 15th, reports came out that Leonard, the 2014 Finals MVP, had demanded a trade out of San Antonio.
Heart of the matter
Leonard's relationship with the Spurs franchise as steadily declined since mid-December, when he first complained of pain in his quad despite being cleared by the team doctors. The 2-time Defensive Player of the Year only played 9 games this season averaging 16.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists but has hardly been seen even in street clothes on the team's bench since.
Leonard has two-years remaining on his current contract worth a combined for $41.3 million, with the 2019-20 season being a player option. Despite the strained relationship and Leonard's trade demand, Spurs are the ones with leverage given that the 6-7 small forward has no no-trade clause in his contract.
Having said that, given Leonard's shorter remaining term, San Antonio do definitely need to trade him and get something in return instead of letting him walk for free next offseason. While the Spurs are looking to trade away their player wisely, the Cavaliers are looking to keep their home-grown superstar - LeBron James.
In that attempt, the reigning Eastern Conference Champions have contacted the Spurs to trade for "The Klaw". Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon further reports that the Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker could be also be involved in the team's trade discussions.
Although the move is highly unlikely, it's a promising sign to see that the Cavaliers are showing huge interest in upgrading their current roster, which could convince LeBron to opt-in to $35.6 million for the 2018-19 season and postpone his free agency by a year.
Unfortunately, there has been no report of LeBron of updating the Cavaliers of his contract decision, the deadline for which is June 29th.