Could Kawhi Leonard end up in Atlanta?

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Photo: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Reports have been discussing whether or not Kawhi has been happy in San Antonio.

The star Small Forward has been stricken with injuries the past few seasons and is out indefinitely this season for a lingering quad injury. No official word has come out but a big report from very credible reporter Adrian Wojnarowski came out recently stating this lingering injury is causing discord between Leonard and the Spurs. Leonard’s camp has denied this claim and head coach Gregg Poppovich went on record after a win against the Cavs last night and said Kawhi feels as he’s always felt about the organization and there was nothing to those claims.

While that could very well be true, in the NBA you never know. After 3 finals appearances guard Kyrie Irving stated his interest in leaving the Cavs and now is leading the 1st seeded Boston Celtics.

Here are some possible scenarios that could land Kawhi in Atlanta:

Trade Scenario

Atlanta Hawks Receive: Kawhi Leonard, Joffrey Lauvergne

San Antonio Spurs Receive: Kent Bazemore, Dewayne Dedmon, Ersan Ilyasova Timberwolves 1st round pick

In this scenario the Hawks would trade away Kent Bazemore, who has been top 5 in steals this season and has been shooting extremely well this season, would prove to be a good fit alongside Lamarcus Aldridge. While seemingly a downgrade from Kawhi, Pop is no stranger to working anyone into his system and rotation and seeing them flourish, such as guard Dejounte Murray who is a G League alum and dropped 19 pts 10 reb and 7 stl against the Cavs recently. Also some bigs to help the front court off the bench, who are also shooting very well this season and would mesh well with the Spurs’ system. The Wolves’ 1st round pick might even make this trade more enticing seeing as how it’s protected, but the Wolves are on pace to make the playoffs as a top 5 seed team in the west this season. We’d have to throw the whole book at the Spurs to make this work, but could work nonetheless if Kawhi truly wants to leave.

Free Agent Signing Scenario

Kawhi is coming to the end of his 5 year $94 million contract and has a player option for his final year. While that’s a few years away (2019-2020), this gives the Hawks enough time to prepare an offer and set the team up in a way that welcomes him to come in and be our top player. If he is truly upset with how things are going in San Antonio namely with his training and rehab, he may see some benefit to coming to Atlanta.

We have just recently built a brand new state of the art training/practice facility, which happens to be sponsored by Emory Healthcare a top medical school and hospital. Our guys have been training hard and rehabilitating even harder. John Collins, Dewayne Dedmon, Mike Muscala, Taurean Prince, Dennis Schroeder have all been hurt this season and have all come back seemingly better. They’ve displayed some of their more impressive performances this season after the injury and have all come back in a timely manner. A guy like Kawhi who is eager to get back might be very interested in seeing what we have to offer in that department.

Elijah Thompson | @lilmuggy

 

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