Some NBA executives – diligent or dreaming, depending on your perspective – had the same idea. But they didn’t get far.
League sources said their calls on Leonard were shut down before they started, so it’s not likely that San Antonio is ready to do anything drastic with Leonard.
When healthy, Leonard is one of the NBA’s best players. He’s arguably the league’s very best defender, and he has become an elite scorer. Just 26 and under contract for another season, Leonard is incredibly valuable.
It’d take a huge rift and even bigger offers for San Antonio to trade him.
Leonard will be eligible for a designated-player extension next summer. He can get that larger salary from only the Spurs, and he’s guaranteed to be eligible only next summer. If Leonard won’t sign that, it’d be the type signal that should get San Antonio to at least explore a trade.
But both sides being frustrated by a lingering injury? That alone won’t break up the Spurs as we know them.