Now that the Spurs are apparently openly shopping Kawhi Leonard, it’s worth assessing what San Antonio can actually expect to get back based on what other teams have pulled with similar deals.
The Paul George saga is the closest corollary, though Kawhi is a better talent and PG was safer due to Leonard’s injury concerns. The Pacers pulled Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis — a package that worked out very well but looked dicey in the immediate term.
The Cavaliers had to trade Kyrie Irving, and ended up taking back an all-star with asterisks (Isaiah Thomas) and a good draft pick. Thomas was a rental while there were two years left on Kyrie’s contract. But still, it was an all-star and a draft pick.
The Kings got back a draft pick and Buddy Hield in the DeMarcus Cousins trade. There was no trade demand involved there, though. Jimmy Butler had a couple of years left on his deal, but the trade package for him included Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, and a pick swap.
All of that considered: the Lakers’ potential offer of Brandon Ingram and a future pick is a little steep but probably in line with expectations given Kawhi’s talent and the likelihood he would re-sign. The Celtics’ potential offer centered on Jaylen Brown is likewise rather fair.
If the Spurs are expecting much more, we might see Kawhi in a San Antonio uniform to start next season. Teams have not been pulling insane hauls when trading disgruntled players. Never count out the Spurs, though.
All eyes Friday are on DeAndre Jordan, who has until 11:59 p.m. ET to opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. If he doesn’t opt out, the expectation currently is that the Clippers will trade him to the Mavericks, either for Wesley Matthews or into cap space.
That’s not the only option, of course: if Jordan stays under contract, the Clippers could just keep him for next season, where LA like they will try to be competitive in a Western Conference where they only narrowly missed the playoffs in 2017-18. Jordan could also just opt out and weigh his options in free agency.
As long as no one barricades him in his own house, we’ll be OK.
Seerat Sohi on how LeBron put the “free” in free agency. And here’s a tracker with all of your LeBron rumors.
Huge Zach Lowe free agency preview worth your time.
Ricky O’Donnell went to LaVar Ball’s JBA event in Chicago. O’Donnell found that the real stars of the JBA aren’t the Balls — it’s the players chasing their dreams by any means necessary.
Uh, USA Basketball’s senior men’s team — currently made up of G League players, primarily — lost to Mexico in FIBA World Cup qualifiers on Thursday. It’s the men’s national team’s first loss in competition in 12 years. That said, Team USA has already qualified for the second round, which starts in September and will probably again feature G League players. USA Basketball plays Cuba in the final first-round qualifier on Sunday in Havana.
Speaking of the FIBA Men’s World Cup, a lot of teams clinched a spot in the second round on Thursday. And a lot more NBA players are participating in this round, which is nice for FIBA. Keep in mind, though, that before FIBA destroyed the competition schedule, we’d all be preparing for Gregg Popovich to be coaching NBA stars in the World Cup later this summer. Instead, it’s Jeff Van Gundy and another year before the Cup.
The risk for Boston in trading for Kawhi.
Thad Young opts in with the Pacers.
Which teams actually have cap space?
What each team’s fans want in free agency. As a liberated fan, I want MOVEMENT.
What do the Celtics do if Marcus Smart leaves?
Fascinating: how Second Spectrum is redesigning the NBA.
Breanna Stewart is the hero of her own story.
Joel Embiid on Hot Ones, a show where the guest eats progressively hot wings while being asked progressively more serious questions.
Six ways LeBron could announce his decision to great effect.
Fortunes have turned toward the positive again for China Klay.
And finally: Joel Embiid dunks on Mo Bamba and yells, “Welcome to the f---ing league!” This should be a part of the Rookie Symposium now.
Be excellent to each other.