Published: Wed, July 18, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Blazers have engaged Spurs in Kawhi Leonard trade talks


In an otherwise slow news cycle in the National Basketball Association - hey, look: the Sacramento Kings just traded for former Sacramento Kings draft bust Ben McLemore! - the rumour mill continues to churn on the Kawhi Leonard trade front.

Leonard has largely stayed out of the public eye since reports surfaced last month that he wanted to be traded from the Spurs.

Team USA will host a mini-camp in Las Vegas next week and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard is considering attending to show how recovery from his quad injury has gone, Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com report.

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During an appearance on The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN's Brian Windhorst explained why he thinks "the Raptors are in the driver's seat". 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.

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.

"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. But, the Spurs may not receive an offer that meets their asking price, the report says. "San Antonio has been determined in demanding a sizable return on Leonard". Boston hasn't included five players, including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford. Spurs coach and Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich is one of nine coaches planning to be there.

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The Philadelphia 76ers were reportedly unwilling to include Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid or Markelle Fultz in a deal for Leonard, instead offering up their own collection of draft picks.

The longer this whole situation drags out between Leonard and San Antonio, the less likely the Spurs are to get fair-market value for the All-Star.

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