Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports is adamant, with LeBron James joining the Lakers, Kawhi Leonard now prefers to be traded to the Clippers.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said Leonard still prefers to pair with LeBron on the Lakers.
Michael C. Wright of ESPN on Back To Back The Podcast:
The Lakers are not Kawhi’s preferred destination anymore. He wants to go to the Clippers. Because he doesn’t want to go and be second fiddle to Lebron. That’s what I was told, and I was told by somebody that would know.
I talked to people within the Spurs organization, and they’re like, “Well, yeah. He wants to go to the Clippers, but their assets are s— at this point.” That’s what I was told.
It’s incredible how much conflicting information exists on just this one portion of The Kawhigmire, let alone the whole saga.
The Spurs can trade Leonard anywhere, but he can become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Teams will offer more if they believe trading for him now would be the best way to secure him long-term.
Perhaps, San Antonio is just trying to gain leverage on the Lakers, who previously had reason to believe they could just wait to sign Leonard next summer rather than trading for him now. Wright said he spoke to people within the Spurs (though it’s unclear whether that’s his initial source on Leonard’s preference). But denigrating the Clippers’ assets immediately undercuts that strategy.
So, who knows Leonard’s top choice and who’s leaking what for what purpose? Not even a couple ESPN reporters can agree on this.