New team emerges as Las Vegas favorite to land Kawhi Leonard

14 July, 2018, 02:20 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Markelle Fultz

Leonard's relationship with the Spurs has grown sour over the past year due in large part to communication issues between the team and its superstar over injury management. He was traded to Minnesota the following offseason for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen.

Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post wrote on Monday that the Raptors have generated a buzz surrounding Leonard at the NBA Summer League in Vegas.

But the two-time National Basketball Association defensive player of the year has expressed a desire to be traded to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers.

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Toronto is believed to be the third best team in the conference behind Boston and Philadelphia. The Celtics could try to acquire Butler this summer, or the two former Team USA teammates could simply opt out of their player options after next season and join forces then. Leonard played in only nine games in 2017-18, scoring 16.2 points a night, well below his average of 25.5 in 2016-17.

In order to make the DeRozan deal work financially, the Spurs might have to move another player with a big contract such as Patty Mills or Danny Green. The Spurs reportedly were asking for a king's ransom from the Lakers, with potential packages including L.A.'s top young players Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram and a plethora of draft picks, and the Spurs don't appear willing to budge or negotiate much. Taylor offered a quick play-by-play account of their exchange: "We offered him the extension, and they've met and come back to us and said they're really appreciative of it, they appreciate that we got to them right away and all that, but they declined it".

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