Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
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NBA Draft 2018 rumors: Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes another Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry

NBA Draft 2018 rumors: Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes another Lakers vs. Celtics rivalry

Kawhi Leonard sent the National Basketball Association world into a frenzy over the weekend as it was reported that he has requested a trade from the San Antonio Spurs.

Leonard could take up a five-year $219million supermax contract were he to stay with the Spurs despite playing just nine games last season following lengthy injury complaints.

Speculation took shape Friday with reports confirming Kawhi Leonard wants out of San Antonio. As reported by Chris Sheridan of, Leonard won't be traded to either of the Los Angeles teams or anywhere else in the Western Conference, if and when he is traded. And with the Lakers possessing the cap space to sign two stars - and perhaps the trade pieces to acquire another - this offseason, it may be a situation too ideal for James to pass up. Some combination of guard Patrick Beverley, forward Danilo Gallinari and forward Sam Dekker would have to be on the table too, or including both 2018 first-round picks could get San Antonio's attention. A significant trade was made on draft night in 2017, with Jimmy Butler going to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Leonard could be the big name on the move this year. Carmelo Anthony demanded a trade from the Denver Nuggets in the summer of 2010, then had to play 50 games for the organization during the 2010-11 campaign before finally getting dealt to the New York Knicks in February.

Denver seems to be one piece away from being a contender, with a rising star in Nikola Jokic, an established All-Star in Paul Millsap, and two young scoring aficionados in Jamal Murray and Gary Harris.

The Lakers have enough salary cap space to sign both James and George to the max contracts they most likely will covet.

The Spurs are also in no rush to get a deal done to offload the former Finals MVP this summer and still retain some hope of keeping him as they can offer a supermax extension worth $219 million.

We're unlikely to see a development on the Kawhi situation in the near future but it's definitely one of the most intriguing narratives of the offseason already.

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