There are 29 teams that want to talk Kawhi Leonard trade with the Spurs (once they start taking those calls, they are going to be deliberate about it. Leonard has some leverage here to limit the number of teams by saying he won’t re-sign with them, but a few teams (not just the Lakers) are in the mix.
The Suns are not one of those teams.
However, they have a big chip in the No. 1 pick and GM Ryan McDonough wants to explore the chances, reports Kevin O’Connor at The Ringer.
Several league sources told me they anticipate Suns general manager Ryan McDonough to probe a Leonard deal using the no. 1 pick. Phoenix explored Irving trades last summer but was reluctant to deal Josh Jackson, whom they selected with the fourth overall pick. Leonard is better than Irving, so perhaps it’s time for the Suns to strike now, when they’re armed with assets and an opportunity to trade for a transcendent player. There’s also a sense from league sources that the Suns presumed selection of Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton at no. 1 isn’t a guarantee because of the outside possibility that they’ll get a good enough deal to trade down or out of the draft entirely. Now that Leonard reportedly wants out, anything is possible.
The Suns quickly reached out to a trusted beat writer to quash this rumor.
The Suns should not be in the Kawhi sweepstakes. Here the problem for Phoenix: Even if the Spurs are into a trade that looks something like the No. 1 pick, Josh Jackson, and Tyson Chandler to balance out the salaries, what have the Suns’ got? Kawhi Leonard, Devin Booker, and Dragan Bender — probably not enough to even make the playoffs in the West. Then Leonard bolts as a free agent in 2019 and the Suns are out the No. 1 pick.
Leonard’s team will make it clear to the Suns he’s not re-signing in Phoenix, and that will be that.
However, it is good for the Suns’ fan base to hear their GM is trying, so stuff like this gets leaked. Expect similar reports from other teams in the coming days.